Indy teacher fired for same-sex marriage suing archdiocese

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Indianapolis and the Indiana State Capitol. (Image by David Mark from Pixabay)

Indianapolis and the Indiana State Capitol. (Image by David Mark from Pixabay)

INDIANAPOLIS — Joshua Payne-Elliott, who had reached a settlement with Cathedral High School just yesterday, is suing the Roman Catholice Archdiocese of Indianapolis for discrimination.

The Indianapolis Star reported on Wednesday that Payne-Elliott had not been publicly identified until now. His husband, Layton Payne-Elliott, is a teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School. Both schools are part of the archdiocese and had been ordered to fire the men for being in a same-sex marriage. Brebeuf refused and can no longer use Catholic in their name. Cathedral gave in and fired Joshua.

From the Indianapolis Star:

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Marion County alleges that the archdiocese illegally interfered with Joshua Payne-Elliott’s contractual and employment relationship with Cathedral High School, causing Cathedral to terminate him. 

According to the filing, Cathedral renewed Payne-Elliott’s annual teaching contract in May. But one month later, Cathedral’s president, Robert Bridges, told him that the archdiocese had “directed” Cathedral to terminate him and that Cathedral was following that directive.

Bridges told Payne-Elliott that it felt like Cathedral was firing Payne-Elliott “with a gun to our head,” according to the lawsuit. 

“We hope that this case will put a stop to the targeting of LGBTQ employees and their families,” Payne-Elliott said in a news release. 

Payne-Elliott has also filed charges of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asserting that the archdiocese discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and retaliated against him for opposing sexual orientation discrimination.

Two guidance counselors, fired from Roncalli High School earlier this year over their same-sex marriages, have filed similar complaints with the EEOC against the archdiocese.



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