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Indiana court sides with Catholic diocese in teacher firing

FILE PHOTO: Doug Jaggers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that religious freedom rights protect the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis from being sued by a teacher who was fired from his job at a Catholic high school for being in a same-sex marriage.

Joshua Payne-Elliott argued that archdiocese leaders wrongfully forced his firing in 2019 from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis by mandating enforcement of a morality clause barring employees from entering into same-sex marriages.

The court's decision on Wednesday said religious institutions had the First Amendment right to decide matters of church governance.

Payne-Elliott pointed out in a statement that Cathedral High School renewed his annual contract three times after becoming aware of his relationship until the archdiocese intervened.