HACKENSACK, N.J. — A woman is suing a Roman Catholic school in New Jersey, alleging the school violated the state’s discrimination law when she was fired because she’s married to a woman.
The suit alleges that Paramus Catholic High School; its president, James P. Vail; and the Archdiocese of Newark, led by Archbishop John Myers, violated anti-discrimination laws and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
An attorney for Paramus Catholic High School said on Friday they plan to ask a judge to dismiss Kate Drumgoole’s suit.
In court papers, the lawyer argues Drumgoogle was dismissed for failing to abide by the tenets of the faith when she entered into a same-sex marriage, and not because of her sexual orientation.
Attorney Christopher Westrick also argues that the defendants’ conduct is protected under the First Amendment, which guarantees the free exercise of religion and freedom from government entanglement within religion.
Drumgoole was not dismissed for being a lesbian, the filing asserts, but “for violating the Ministerial Policies and the Code of Ethics – in failing to abide by the tenets of the Roman Catholic faith, i.e. by entering into a same sex marriage.”
Drumgoogle told The Record newspaper she was fired as dean of guidance and head coach of the basketball team in January after administrators learned she was married to a woman.
Drumgoogle says other faculty members remain employed even though they don’t abide by the church’s tenets, including several faculty who are divorced, at least one who has a child out of wedlock, various employees who cohabitate with members of the opposite sex, at least one other teacher who is gay, and another teacher whose nude photographs have been circulated online.
A graduate of the school herself, Drumgoole told The Record she was “proud to be a part of such a diverse school community that exposed students to so much, and I also felt it was an honor to serve my alma mater.”
According to New Ways Ministry, a pro-LGBT advocacy group, more than 50 gays and lesbians have either been fired or had employment offers rescinded at Catholic institutions in America since 2010. In most cases, the cause for termination was not sexual orientation, but the fact that the person had entered into a same-sex marriage.