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Indy archdiocese claims First Amendment defense against gay teacher’s lawsuit

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

INDIANAPOLIS — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis is saying the First Amendment should block a gay teacher’s lawsuit against them for discrimination.

On Thursday, the Indianapolis Star reported that the archdiocese was trying to have the lawsuit dismissed by claiming the First Amendment prohibits a secular court from ruling on church matters.

According to the newspaper, the archdiocese said “This case strikes at the heart of the First Amendment’s protections for separation of church and state.”

Joshua Payne-Elliott sued the archdiocese for discrimination in July. He had been fired from Cathedral High School in June for being in a same-sex marriage. He has settled with the school, but not the archdiocese.

The Star reported that Payne-Elliott’s lawsuit alleges that the archdiocese had interfered with his employment at the school. His lawyer, Kathleen DeLaney, told the newspaper he had never signed a morality clause or a contract with the archdiocese.

“There was no contract between Mr. Payne-Elliott and the archdiocese,” DeLaney told the Star Wednesday evening. “The archdiocese interfered in Mr. Payne-Elliott’s employment relationship with Cathedral High School. That’s what this case is about.”

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