Court rules Catholic school wrongfully fired gay substitute

U.S. Court News

A gay substitute teacher was wrongfully fired by a Roman Catholic school in North Carolina after he announced in 2014 on social media that he was going to marry his longtime partner, a federal judge has ruled.


 


U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn ruled Friday that Charlotte Catholic High School and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Charlotte violated Lonnie Billard’s federal protections against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Cogburn granted summary judgment to Billard and said a trial must still be held to determine appropriate relief for him.


 


“After all this time, I have a sense of relief and a sense of vindication. I wish I could have remained to teach all this time,” Billard said in a statement released Friday by the ACLU, which represented him in court. “Today’s decision validates that I did nothing wrong by being a gay man.”


 


Billard taught English and drama full-time at the school for more than a decade, earning its Teacher of the Year award in 2012. He then transitioned to a role as a regular substitute teacher, typically working more than a dozen weeks per year, according to his 2017 lawsuit.


 


He posted about his upcoming wedding in October 2014 and was informed by an assistant principal several weeks later that he no longer had a job with the school, according to the ruling.


 


The defendants said that they fired Billard not because he was gay, but rather because “he engaged in ‘advocacy’ that went against the Catholic Church’s beliefs” when he publicly announced he was marrying another man, the ruling said.


 


 


But Cogburn ruled that the school’s action didn’t fit into exemptions to labor law that give religious institutions leeway to require certain employees to adhere to religious teachings, nor was the school’s action protected by constitutional rights to religious freedom.

Related listings

  • Bajrami beats FIFA in court, can switch to play for Albania

    Bajrami beats FIFA in court, can switch to play for Albania

    U.S. Court News 08/30/2021

    In a win over FIFA at sport’s highest court, Empoli midfielder Nedim Bajrami won the right Monday to switch national teams from Switzerland to Albania. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said its panel upheld an appeal by Bajrami and the Albani...

  • Maryland’s highest court reviewing teen sniper’s life term

    Maryland’s highest court reviewing teen sniper’s life term

    U.S. Court News 08/27/2021

    Maryland’s highest court has agreed to take up the case of Lee Boyd Malvo, who is serving life in prison for his role in the 2002 sniper spree that terrorized the Washington, D.C., region. Malvo’s lawyers argue that his punishment goes ag...

  • Idaho Supreme Court overturns tougher ballot initiative law

    Idaho Supreme Court overturns tougher ballot initiative law

    U.S. Court News 08/24/2021

    The Idaho Supreme Court has rejected a new law designed to make it harder for voters to get initiatives on the ballot, saying the legislation was so restrictive that it violated a fundamental right under the state’s constitution. The ruling iss...

New York Adoption, Foster Care Litigation and Family Law

Rosin Steinhagen Mendel is a law firm dedicated to serving our clients in New York City, the surrounding counties in southern New York State, and in New Jersey, in the areas of adoption, foster care litigation, and family law.

We represent our clients in all types of proceedings that include termination of parental rights, permanency hearings, custody hearings, guardianship, administrative proceedings, and adoption. Our goal is to provide each of our clients with the best possible representation in all aspects of their cases, and clients appreciate our careful analysis of individual cases, through preparation and attention to detail. For over 35 years, our attorneys have represented adoptive parents, birth parents, foster parents, children, foster care agencies, and adoption agencies. We represent our clients in all types of proceedings that include termination of parental rights, permanency hearings, custody hearings, guardianship, administrative proceedings, and adoption.

Our goal for our lawyers is to provide each of our clients with the best possible representation in all aspects of their cases, and clients appreciate our careful analysis of individual cases, through our preparation and attention to detail.