A Catholic high school teacher who was fired last month for being in a same sex-marriage is suing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

A lawsuit filed by Joshua Payne-Elliott claims that the archdiocese “illegally interfered with his contractual and employment relationship with Cathedral High School, causing Cathedral to terminate him on June 23, 2019,” his attorney, Kathleen DeLaney, said Wednesday, according to the local newspaper South Bend Tribune.

He had worked at Cathedral High School for 13 years, and his contract had been renewed on May 21. But two days later, the school’s president told Payne-Elliot that the archdiocese had ordered Cathedral to fire him.

Payne-Elliott also filed charges of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the Archdiocese “discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and retaliated against him for opposing sexual orientation discrimination,” the statement reads.

“We intend to hold the Archdiocese accountable for violations of state and federal law,” his attorney said, according to The Tribune.

“We hope that this case will put a stop to the targeting of LGBTQ employees and their families,” Joshua Payne-Elliott said.

“In the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ Catholic schools, all teachers, school leaders and guidance counselors are ministers and witnesses of the faith, who are expected to uphold the teachings of the Church in their daily lives, both in and out of school,” the archdiocese responded to the lawsuit in a statement.

His husband since 2017, Layton Payne-Elliott, is also a teacher in a Catholic school in Indianapolis. He works at the Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

The archdiocese ordered Brebeuf to fire him but, in his case, the school sided with the teacher and refused to obey.

As a result, the school is no longer recognized by the archdiocese as a Catholic institution; it now identifies as an independent Catholic school.


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