INDIANAPOLIS (LifeSiteNews) – Last Wednesday United States District Judge Richard L. Young ruled against a counselor who was terminated by Roncalli High School, a private Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, for being in a same-sex civil union.
Stated in the ruling, “After Roncalli learned of [Lynn] Starkey’s same sex marriage, it declined to renew her employment contract on the grounds that her marriage violated Catholic teachings. At the time of her termination, Starkey worked as Co-Director of Guidance.”
Starkey had filed the suit against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and Roncalli High School citing “discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment.”
Her suit went on to claim her termination was a “tortious interference with contractual relationship and tortious interference with employment relationship under Indiana state law.”
As stated by the court, the First Amendment allows for a ministerial exception when dealing with cases that involve religious liberty.
Citing such exceptions, the court determined that Starkey’s “work in helping shape Roncalli’s educational and spiritual environment weigh heavily in favor of applying the ministerial exception.”
“[Starkey] helped plan all-school liturgies, she delivered the morning prayer on at least a few occasions, she worked with the other Administrative Council members to identify ways in which Roncalli can differentiate itself from the local public schools, and she participated in discussion groups about books aimed at enhancing faith formation,” Young wrote.
According to the Christian Post, Becket, the law firm that aided in the representation of this case on behalf of the archdiocese, celebrated the religious liberty victory.
“Today’s ruling is common sense: religious groups have a constitutional right to hire people who agree with their religious beliefs and practices,” said Becket’s vice president and senior counsel Luke Goodrich.
As the Post also reported, there is another related lawsuit pending, as Starkey was one of two counselors Roncalli High School dismissed for being in a “same-sex marriage.”
The school addressed the second suit, filed by Shelly Fitzgerald, in public Facebook post in 2018.
“As role models for students, the personal conduct of every teacher, guidance counselor and administrator and staff member, both at school and away from school, must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church,” the statement read.
“These teachings include, but are not limited to: honoring the dignity of each human life from conception to natural death, care for God’s creation, and the belief that all persons are called to respect human sexuality and its expression in the sacrament of marriage between a man and a woman as a sign of God’s love and fidelity to His Church,” continued the school.
As reported by LifeSiteNews in 2019, the school’s statement is congruent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which holds that homosexual relations are “intrinsically disordered” and “cannot be approved under any circumstances.”