Cathedral HS teacher fired over same-sex marriage sues Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Archdiocese of Indianapolis web page. (WTHR Staff)
Teacher Sues Archdiocese
Former teacher sues archdiocese

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — A now former Cathedral High School teacher is suing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Joshua Payne-Elliott's lawsuit alleges the Archdiocese illegally interfered with his contract and employment at Cathedral High School. Payne-Elliott was fired on June 23.

He has also filed charges of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Those claims are that the Archdiocese discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and retaliated against him. The EEOC is already investigating those claims.

Payne-Elliott had been a teacher at Cathedral High School for 13 years and had his contract renewed in May.

Payne-Elliott married Layton Payne-Elliott in 2017, who teaches at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

“We hope that this case will put a stop to the targeting of LGBTQ employees and their families,” Payne-Elliott said.

The Complaint seeks compensatory damages, emotional distress damages, liquidated and/or punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs in unspecified amounts in the lawsuit against the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis issued a statement in response to the lawsuit that reads:

“In the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ Catholic schools, all teachers, school leaders and guidance counselors are ministers and witnesses of the faith, who are expected to uphold the teachings of the Church in their daily lives, both in and out of school. Religious liberty, which is a hallmark of the U.S. Constitution and has been tested in the U.S. Supreme Court, acknowledges that religious organizations may define what conduct is not acceptable and contrary to the teachings of its religion, for its school leaders, guidance counselors, teachers and other ministers of the faith.”

On Tuesday, Cathedral High School and the teacher reached a settlement.

A statement to Eyewitness News on that settlement said: "The teacher thanks Cathedral for the opportunities and experiences that he has had teaching at Cathedral and does not wish Cathedral any harm."