Indiana teacher fired for same-sex marriage sues archdiocese

July 10, 2019
FILE - In this June 13, 2017 file photo, Bishop Charles Thompson speaks after he is introduced as the new archbishop of Indianapolis in Indianapolis. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis says it no longer will recognize a Jesuit high school as Catholic because it refuses to fire a teacher who's in a same-sex marriage. It says a decree to be issued Friday by Archbishop Thompson states Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School "can no longer use the name Catholic and will no longer be identified or recognized as a Catholic institution." (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A teacher who was fired from his job at a Catholic high school because he’s in a same-sex marriage is suing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for interfering in his teaching contract.

The teacher, Joshua Payne-Elliott, sued the archdiocese Wednesday in Marion County court, seeking unspecified compensatory, emotional distress and other damages.

Payne-Elliott’s attorney, Kathleen DeLaney, says in a news release that he taught at Cathedral High School for 13 years and that Cathedral renewed his annual teaching contract on May 21. But on June 23, Cathedral’s president told him he was being fired on orders of the archdiocese.

The archdiocese said in a statement that the U.S. Constitution allows religious organizations to define what conduct is unacceptable for employees.

DeLaney said Tuesday that Payne-Elliott and Cathedral have reached a settlement.


This story has been corrected to show the lawsuit was filed Wednesday, not Tuesday.

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