For just a tiny bit of sanity, a federal appeals court has ruled that a Catholic school in Indianapolis has the right to refuse to hire a gay teacher who is in a gay marriage.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Starkey v. Roncalli High School and Archdiocese of Indianapolis that religious schools have the right not to hire teachers who violate the church’s teachings.
Per Just the News:
The appellate court asserted that Lynn Starkey’s role as a guidance counselor included ministerial duties, a ministerial exception under the First Amendment allowed the school to not renew her contract. A district court ruling previously came to the same conclusion.
“Starkey was a minister because she was entrusted with communicating the Catholic faith to the school’s students and guiding the school’s religious mission,” the appeals court wrote. “The ministerial exception bars all her claims, federal and state. This opinion therefore does not reach the parties’ Title VII, RFRA, or other constitutional arguments. We AFFIRM the district court.”
Starkey informed the institution in August of 2018 that she had entered into a same-sex union, which both her contract and Catholic doctrine forbid. Employees of Roncalli High School must sign agreements to uphold church teachings, both at work and in the home.
The school did not fire the teacher right away, but instead waited until the teacher’s contract was up and then didn’t renew it. The teacher, though, sued.
Fortunately, the teacher lost. Let’s hope this precedent sticks.Commentary