INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court has denied the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former Cathedral High School teacher who was fired because of his same-sex marriage.
The teacher, Joshua Payne-Elliott, was fired on June 23, 2019, the lawsuit states.
In a court filing, the Archdiocese wanted the lawsuit dismissed because “the court lacks jurisdiction over questions of church governance, and because the claims are barred by the First Amendment freedom of association,” but it was denied.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled 2-2, which isn’t enough for a dismissal. The Archdiocese “bore the burden of persuading a majority of this Court,” the court order states.
Last year, the Archdiocese released the following statement about the lawsuit:
“In the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ Catholic schools, all teachers, school leaders and guidance counselors are ministers and witnesses of the faith, who are expected to uphold the teachings of the Church in their daily lives, both in and out of school. Religious liberty, which is a hallmark of the U.S. Constitution and has been tested in the U.S. Supreme Court, acknowledges that religious organizations may define what conduct is not acceptable and contrary to the teachings of its religion, for its school leaders, guidance counselors, teachers and other ministers of the faith.”