In a move sure to outrage Democrats, the Indiana state Supreme Court has ruled that a Catholic school teacher can be fired for having entering into a same-sex marriage.
The teacher violated the contract by entering into a same-sex marriage
According to the Daily Caller, the case concerned a former teacher at Indianapolis Cathedral High School named Joshua Payne-Elliott.
In 2017, Payne-Elliott entered into a same-sex marriage in violation of his employment contract and was subsequently fired two years later.
Payne-Elliott’s firing came at the behest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, which threatened to no longer recognize Indianapolis Cathedral High School as a Catholic institution if Payne-Elliott was not removed.
What’s more, the archdiocese also demanded that Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School fire Payne-Elliott’s spouse for violating the terms of his teaching contract as well.
“The archdiocese’s decision whether a school maintains its Catholic identity is an internal matter that concerns both church policy and administration,” the state Supreme Court’s opinion stated.
Conservative group welcomes decision
Luke Goodrich serves as vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and he told the Daily Caller News Foundation that this week’s ruling was crucial.
“This is a really important example of properly having separation of church and state properly understood, because when you have an archdiocese or some other church body, giving instruction and guidance to a religious school, that’s one of its ministries,” Goodrich was quoted as saying.
“It’s very important for it that the government doesn’t insert itself into that dialogue and relationship between the church and its ministry and the way it’s working out its faith and living its faith in its religious schools,” he added.
For his part, Payne-Elliott issued a statement in which he pointed out that the school chose to renew his contract despite knowing about his relationship.
“While we are disappointed by today’s decision, we would like to make clear that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis ordered the school to breach my valid, legal employment contract – a contract that the school had renewed three times after the school was aware of the relationship,” Payne-Elliott was quoted as saying in a press release.