Appeals court rules Kentucky must pay Kim Davis’s legal costs

LOUISVILLE — The Sixth Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Kentucky must pay the legal fees related to from county clerk Kim Davis refusing to issue marriage licenses to LGBTQ couples, the Louisville Courier-Journal has reported. In January, the state had argued that Davis was responsible for her own legal costs. The Courier-Journal reported that the three-judge appeals court upheld a district court’s decision that Kentucky had to pay the $224,000 in attorney fees and costs incurred by the couples. In 2017, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled that since the state was responsible for regulating marriage and that Davis was acting in her official capacity when she refused to issue the licenses, the state was on the hook for the costs. The newspaper said that Davis lost reelection as Rowan County Clerk in November 2018 to a Democratic challenger.

Indy school barred from Catholic athletics for refusing to fire gay teacher

INDIANAPOLIS — Brebeuf High School in Indianapolis has been barred from a Catholic athletic invitational after losing its status as a Catholic school. It lost the status after refusing to fire a gay teacher. The Indianapolis Star reported that the school’s girls’ golf team was left out of the Guerin Catholic Invitational on Aug. 5 at Guerin Catholic, a traditional season-opening event. The event also included Bishop Chatard, Cardinal Ritter, Cathedral and Roncalli.

Brebeuf to appeal split with Catholic archdiocese over gay teacher

INDIANAPOLIS — Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis is appealing the decision of the Indianapolis archdiocese to no longer recognize the school as Catholic in Rome. The archdiocese cut ties to the school in June when Brebeuf refused to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage. 

The Indianapolis Star reported on Monday that the school’s appeal is being lead by the Jesuits, who sponsor the school. 

From the Indianapolis Star:

As is required by the Catholic Church, the order first requested that the archbishop reconsider his decision and rescind the decree. He declined to do so, according to a letter sent Sunday to members of the Brebeuf community. Now, the school has taken its case to the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome. The hope is that the decree will be overruled and, in the meantime, that its effects will be suspended during the appeals process.

Gay Roncalli counselor sues school, Indianapolis archdiocese for discrimination

INDIANAPOLIS — A gay guidance counselor who was fired from Roncalli High School in Indianapolis is suing the school and the Indianapolis Catholic archdiocese for discrimination. 

The Indianapolis Star reported that it was the second lawsuit brought against the archdiocese this month. 

According to the Star, Lynn Starkey is alleging the the school and archdiocese created a hostile work environement and discriminated against her on the basis of orientation and retaliated when she complained. The newspaper said Starkey had worked at the school for 40 years until she was fired because she married another woman. From the Indianapolis Star:

The archdiocese said in a statement released Monday that it has the right “to hire leaders who support the schools’ religious mission.” 
“Catholic schools exist to communicate the Catholic faith to the next generation,” the archdiocese said. “To accomplish their mission, Catholic schools ask all teachers, administrators and guidance counselors to uphold the Catholic faith by word and action, both inside and outside the classroom.” Starkey is the second Roncalli guidance counselor to raise discrimination complaints against the school and archdiocese.

Indy’s Cathedral High cuts ties with a teacher in a same sex marriage

INDIANAPOLIS — Days after Brebeuf high school separated from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, a new catholic school is in the news. 

Cathedral high school a non profit school in Indianapolis is “separating” itself from one of the schools teacher who happens to be in a same sex marriage. This decision comes after months of discussion with the archdiocese, and the school states it would have lost its non profit status if they did not comply with the demands from the archdiocese. 

The school released a letter to the public. Below you can read the full letter – 

Dear Cathedral Family,

On behalf of Cathedral’s Board of Directors, we write to you about an agonizing decision, made after 22 months of earnest discussion and extensive dialogue with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis about Cathedral’s continued Catholic identity. Cathedral’s Catholic identity

Cathedral was founded as a Catholic high school in 1918 by Bishop Joseph Chartrand. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis owned Cathedral but engaged The Brothers of Holy Cross to serve as faculty.

Indy school no longer Catholic after refusing to fire teacher in a same-sex marriage

INDIANAPOLIS — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis will no longer recognize Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as Catholic because it wouldn’t fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage. Indy TV station RTV6 on Thursday reported that the school’s board of trustees made the announcement in a letter to the school community. The board had been told that the “formal decree” would be announced by the archdiocese in the Criterion, the archdiocese’s newspaper, on or around Friday, June 21. 

From RTV6:
“Brebeuf Jesuit was founded in 1962 as an independent Catholic Jesuit school,” the letter to the Brebeuf Community said. “While we’ve enjoyed a collaborative partnership with the Archdiocese for nearly 57 years, we have always maintained control of our school’s operations and governance, including our personnel decisions.” Brebeuf says the decree comes after school leaders and the Archdiocese were in disagreement regarding whether the Archdiocese had the final say in staff matters, including employment status.

Washington State uphold ruling against florist who refused LGBTQ couple

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Supreme Court upheld a ruling that a florist discriminated against an LGBTQ couple when she refused to sell them flowers for their wedding. The Hill reported that the court issued the ruling on Thursday. The website said the state’s supreme court had issued that ruling in 2017, but was ordered to review the case for hostility to religious beliefs by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018. From The Hill:
The Washington court found that state courts “did not act with religious animus when they ruled that the florist and her corporation violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination … by declining to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple, and they did not act with religious animus when they ruled that such discrimination is not privileged or excused by the United States Constitution or the Washington Constitution.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the conservative Christian group representing florist Barronelle Stutzman in the case, said Thursday that it will request the Supreme Court to take up the case once again. “Barronelle serves all customers; she simply declines to celebrate or participate in sacred events that violate her deeply held beliefs,” John Bursch, the vice president of appellate advocacy at ADF, said in a statement.

Lambda Legal asks court for relief of all same-sex couples denied Social Security benefits

TUCSON — Lambda Legal asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to provide relief to all surviving same-sex spouses denied equal access to social security survivor’s benefits, including through certification of a class action, on Tuesday.  

“Our clients and many others who were in loving, long-term, and committed relationships – in some cases for more than 40 years – have been denied equal access to these critical survivor’s benefits, paid for through a lifetime of work, based on circumstances wholly beyond their control,” Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn said in a press release.  “The government considers them legal strangers here, rather than widows and widowers, even if they married as soon as they were able to do so.”

Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit in November on behalf of a now 66-year-old gay man seeking spousal survivor’s benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), which imposes a nine-month marriage requirement even where same-sex couples were not able to be married for nine months because of discriminatory marriage laws. The legal advocacy group filed the motion for class certification in Ely v. Berryhill, the lawsuit it filed against SSA on behalf of Michael Ely, who married his partner of 43 years, James Taylor, immediately after Arizona’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples was struck down in 2014. Taylor died of cancer six months later. When Ely contacted SSA to begin the process of applying for survivor benefits, he was told that he did not qualify. “It was such a shock, to be told your relationship of 43 years means nothing,” Ely said in the press release.

Lambda Legal reaches settlement on behalf of upstate New York same-sex couple denied marriage license

NEW YORK — Lambda Legal reached a settlement last week on behalf of a same-sex couple who was denied a marriage license in upstate New York last year by the town clerk of the Town of Root. “We feel vindicated and grateful that the Town of Root has realized its obligation to respect our family and all same-sex couples on the same terms as any different-sex couple who wants to marry,” said Dylan Toften in a press release from Lambda Legal. “We are happy the state of New York supports our marriage and that we were able to not allow this one town clerk in our town to get away with violating the law and discriminating against LGBT families.”
In July 2018, Dylan Toften and Thomas Hurd visited the town clerk’s office in Root, N.Y., about 50 miles from Albany, and the town’s clerk, Laurel “Sherrie” Eriksen, declined to process the couple’s request. The refusal was in violation of New York’s Marriage Equality Act, as well as federal and New York state civil rights laws and constitutional protections. As part of the settlement, the clerk read a public statement at last night’s town meeting agreeing to abide by her responsibility to provide marriage licenses to all couples who are legally qualified and without exception, as well as apologizing to the couple.