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A North Carolina teacher is suing a school that ‘fired him for being gay’

Meka Beresford January 11, 2017
Teacher in school

(Creative Commons)

A teacher in North Carolina is suing the school he worked at that ‘fired him for being gay’.

69-year-old Lonnie Billard is taking action against the Charlotte Catholic High School, which he says, fired him in 2014 after he publicly announced his plans to marry his partner Richard Donham.

The school was not in breach of state law in letting Billard go, but the move did violate federal law which is what Billard is suing for.

The former substitute teacher said that his relationship was known throughout the school, but was told he violated school rules when he posted about it on Facebook.

Local diocese spokesman David Hains publicly stated that Billard was let go for “going on Facebook, entering into a same-sex relationship, and saying it in a very public way that he does not agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church,” according to the lawsuit.

The former English and Drama teacher filed the lawsuit on Wednesday. He is suing the school under the sex discrimination clause of the Civil Rights Act with the help of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“I know that the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage, but I don’t think my commitment to my husband has any bearing on my work in the classroom,” Billard said in a statement. “I have never hidden the fact that I’m gay and my relationship with my partner was no secret at school.”

Billard said that the classroom had always felt “like home” to him.

“People should be able to fall in love and get married without risking their jobs,” he said.

Billard opted to begin the suit in light of the recent lawsuits in the state which are challenging a series of laws that discriminate against LGBT people.

The main bill that is being targeted is the HB2 law which stipulates that transgender people must use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth.

After hours of meetings and secret debates, plans to repeal North Carolina’s anti-LGBT HB2 failed on Wednesday.

A special session was held to repeal HB2, which has seen the state face boycotts from businesses, sporting evens and musicians, as well as huge protests as it limits the rights of transgender people.

More: Gay, Law, lawsuit, LGBT, North Carolina

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