DOJ Stands Up for Traditional Marriage In Lawsuit By Gay Catholic School Teacher

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Last month the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a statement of interest supporting the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ decision to fire a Catholic school teacher who is in a same-sex marriage.  

The statement says the (DOJ) believes the First Amendment covers the right of the Diocese to apply religious doctrine to its hiring decisions. It also said the government is not judging whether the Diocese was correct in firing the teacher, just that under the Constitution, religious organizations have the right to employ individuals who follow their religious beliefs.

The Archdiocese is being sued by a teacher who said he was fired by Cathedral High School in Indianapolis for wrongful termination.  Joshua Payne-Elliot has been a teacher at the school since 2006 but says his contract was not renewed at the end of the 2018 school year at the direction of the Archdiocese.  

Payne Elliott said he filed the suit “to put a stop to the intentional targeting of LGBTQ employees and their families.” The school responded that it sees their teachers as “ministers” who should uphold the teachings of the Catholic religion.  

Several other teachers in same-sex marriages at other schools in the Archdiocese were also fired last year and are also suing to get their jobs back.