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Indiana court sides with Catholic diocese in teacher firing

Charles C. Thompson
Michael Conroy
/
AP
FILE - Bishop Charles Thompson speaks after he is introduced as the new archbishop of Indianapolis on June 13, 2017, in Indianapolis. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, that religious freedom rights protect the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis from being sued by a teacher who was fired from his job at a Catholic high school for being in a same-sex marriage.

The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that religious freedom rights protect the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis from being sued by a teacher who was fired from his job at a Catholic high school for being in a same-sex marriage.

Joshua Payne-Elliott argued that archdiocese leaders wrongfully forced his firing in 2019 from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis by mandating enforcement of a morality clause barring employees from entering into same-sex marriages.

The court's decision on Wednesday said religious institutions had the First Amendment right to decide matters of church governance.

Payne-Elliott pointed out in a statement that Cathedral High School renewed his annual contract three times after becoming aware of his relationship until the archdiocese intervened.