This teacher cannot sue the Catholic Church for firing him because he openly rejects Catholic teachings: Legal experts
OMAHA, NE, April 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Legal experts agree that, if you openly flout Christian teachings, you have no right to sue a religious school for firing you – in most instances.
That analysis comes after a sexually active homosexual lost his teaching contract at a Catholic school. Matt Eledge, 28 and an English teacher and speech team coach at Omaha’s Skutt Catholic High School, had an offer to renew his contract rescinded when it was learned he planned to “marry” another man.
Despite claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation, a lawsuit would be unsuccessful experts told CruxNow.com.
The City of Omaha passed a 2012 ordinance creating workplace anti-bias protection for homosexual and transgender employees. However, Omaha Human Rights and Relations Division Human Relations representative Renee Biglow says there is a religious exemption for schools and other faith-based entities.
Eledge is not granted special rights due to his sexual preference by any local, state, or federal law, according to University of Nebraska College of Law Professor of Employment Discrimination Law Steven Willborn.
“If they had a rule against drinking, and they only enforced the rule against drinking for black teachers and not white teachers, they’d have a claim, because that’s racial discrimination and illegal,” Willborn said. “But here, their claim would be that they’re treating him differently because of his sexual orientation, and there’s just no law against that.”
A bill before the Nebraska state legislature, LB 586, would also confer legal privileges upon homosexuals and transgender people – but it, too, has a religious exception.
Eledge has not indicated thus far that he would pursue legal action, saying he’s only focused on teaching his students through the end of the year. He did say he’s received some offers to teach at other schools next year.
“So, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise,” said Eledge.
His friend and Skutt Assistant Speech Coach Kacie Skutt said the school had told Eledge he could return to teaching next year if he ended his homosexual relationship.
She is among those alleging discrimination on the part of the school.
“Catholic schools in general allow teachers to be divorced without an annulment, or let teachers be on the pill or let men get a vasectomy…there are so many examples,” Hughes said. “You don’t do this to anyone else except for him, because he’s gay.”
That's not true, said Omaha Archdiocese Chancellor Tim McNeil. There have been single, pregnant teachers, and others who have divorced and remarried outside the Catholic Church, who have lost their jobs for violating Church teaching.
“Of course, there’s a lot we don’t know,” McNeil said. “We don’t go looking for these situations.”
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Willborn said it would require a backlash of public opinion for Skutt to reverse its decision to uphold Church teaching.
“Of course,” he said, “the public opinion that would matter most at Skutt would be what their parents and supporters – and donors – think.”
Catholic students and alumni from a West Des Moines, Iowa, school protested last week when the school declined to offer a full-time teaching contract to an openly-homosexual substitute teacher who was planning to “marry” another man.
Catholic students also protested last year when a vice principal in a homosexual “marriage” was fired in Seattle.
Catholics and others have also protested in Cincinnati and San Francisco when diocesan leaders have taken steps to strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic schools by clearly defining the expectation that faculty uphold Church teaching.