Gay counselor sues Indianapolis archdiocese over her firing

Gay counselor sues Indianapolis archdiocese over her firing

Gay counselor sues Indianapolis archdiocese over her firing

In a file photo, Indianapolis Archbishop Charles C. Thompson looks on as Gina Fleming, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, speaks during a news conference at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis June 27, 2019. (Credit: Sean Gallagher/The Criterion via CNS.)

A gay guidance counselor is suing the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, accusing it of discrimination for firing her because she's in a same-sex marriage.

INDIANAPOLIS — A gay guidance counselor is suing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, accusing it of discrimination for firing her because she’s in a same-sex marriage.

Lynn Starkey filed her federal lawsuit Monday against the archdiocese and Roncalli High School.

The Indianapolis Star reports the suit accuses the archdiocese and the Indianapolis school of retaliating against her, subjecting her to a hostile work environment and discriminating against her on the basis of her sexual orientation.

The archdiocese said in a statement that Starkey had “knowingly violated” her contract by entering into a same-sex marriage, “making clear that she disagrees with the Church’s teaching on marriage.”

“As head guidance counselor, Ms. Starkey signed a contract acknowledging her role as a leader and committing to promote Catholic teaching, including the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage,” the statement said.

“Catholic schools exist to communicate the Catholic faith to the next generation. To accomplish their mission, Catholic schools ask all teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors to uphold the Catholic faith by word and action, both inside and outside the classroom,” the archdiocese continued. “If a school’s leaders reject core aspects of the Catholic faith, it undermines the school’s ability to accomplish its mission. Because of that, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that religious schools have a constitutional right to hire leaders who support the schools’ religious mission.”

That statement said that “many families in our community have sacrificed so their children can attend schools where they will learn the Catholic faith,” and that “the Constitution fully protects the Church’s efforts to do so.”

Archbishop Charles Thompson has said the recent firings of gay teachers at two Catholic high schools were about upholding church teachings on marriage and not sexual orientation.

Crux staff contributed to this report.


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