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Catholic school teacher fired for being gay sues archdiocese

Lily Wakefield July 12, 2019
Catholic archbishop gay teacher fired indianapolis

Archbishop Charles Thompson (centre) heads the Indianapolis archdiocese which ordered the school to fire the gay teacher. (ArchbpCThompson/ Twitter)

The gay teacher fired by a Cathedral High School for being married to a man is suing the Indianapolis Archdiocese over his dismissal.

According to AP News, Joshua Payne-Elliott, who had until now remained anonymous, sued the archdiocese in Marion County court for interfering in his contract and discrimination.

The same archdiocese ordered Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School to also fire another gay teacher, but the school refused and had its Catholic school status taken away as a result.

Since Payne-Elliott waived his anonymity it has come to light that he is actually married to the teacher who was protected by Brebeuf School, Layton Payne-Elliott.

Kathleen DeLaney is Payne-Elliott’s attorney in the lawsuit and, according to AP News, said that he taught at Cathedral High School for 13 years, and that his contract was renewed on May 21 this year.

However on June 23, the school fired him following orders from the archdiocese.

cathedral catholic high school
Cathedral High School, which fired the gay teacher. (gocathedralhs/ Instagram)

The superintendent of Catholic schools said the teacher was offered an opportunity to “rectify their personal situation”

Gina Fleming, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Indianapolis archdiocese, said at a press conference on June 27: “It is a privilege not a right to work and serve in our Catholic schools.

“When someone is not living according to Church teaching, we do try to walk with them.

“We try to give them the information that they need in terms of the Church teaching, and then also spiritual guidance and direction, as well as opportunities to rectify their personal situation.”

Fleming was joined at the press conference by the archbishop of the Indianapolis archdiocese, Charles Thompson.

When asked why he fired a teacher who was gay, but had not fired any teacher that had, for example, used birth control or lived with a partner before marriage, the archbishop responded: “This is not a witch hunt.

“We don’t go looking for these situations. When they’re brought to my attention though, it is my responsibility, my duty to oversee the living of the faith, especially of all ministerial witnesses.

According to AP News, Payne-Elliott’s attorney said on Tuesday July 9 that Payne-Elliott and Cathedral have reached a settlement, although it is not clear whether the settlement was monetary.

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