The Indianapolis Star reports:
The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday issued a Statement of Interest in support of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in its ongoing dispute with a former Catholic school teacher who alleges he was wrongfully terminated because he was in a same-sex marriage. Joshua Payne-Elliott is currently suing the archdiocese, alleging it illegally interfered with his contractual and employment relationship with Cathedral High School, causing Cathedral to terminate him.
In it’s statement, the DOJ said that the First Amendment protects the right of the Archdiocese to interpret and apply Catholic doctrine. It’s not clear what the DOJ’s statement means for Payne-Elliott’s suit, if anything. But his lawyer, Kathleen DeLaney, said it was “highly unusual” for the Justice Department to insert itself into a local employment issue. “What I take away from this is that the Trump administration is politicizing a legal dispute about an Indiana business tort.” DeLaney said.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit filed by a gay, married teacher who was fired by a Catholic high school at the insistence of the archdiocese. DOJ sided with the archdiocese. https://t.co/mhlErhrzKd
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) September 27, 2019
The DOJ argues that the high school’s First Amendment right to “expressive association” allows it to fire a gay teacher.
That reasoning isn’t limited to religious schools. It would give many other schools—and businesses—a constitutional right to discriminate. https://t.co/abu6bi7pRA
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) September 27, 2019
Of course it does.
— John Voelcker (@johnvoelcker) September 28, 2019