Every prospective Catholic school teacher knows, or should know, what the house rules are. This means, at a minimum, that no one is entitled to claim victim status when he purposely violates them and is subsequently terminated for doing so.
Lonnie Billard knew when he “married” his boyfriend, making it public on his Facebook page, that Charlotte Catholic High School, his employer, would object. He sued when he was fired and is now seeking back pay and benefits, punitive damages, and compensatory damages for emotional distress. He is represented by the ACLU, an organization which is at war with the Catholic Church.
The suit is bogus on several counts. The First Amendment protects religious liberty, allowing religious schools to practice the tenets of their faith. The lawsuit does not cite a violation of state law, and that is because no North Carolina law was broken.
The lawsuit relies on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but this is without foundation: sexual orientation was not a protected class when the bill was passed, and amendments by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to include sexual orientation are judicially unresolved.
“I know that the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage,” says Billard, “but I don’t think my commitment to my husband [sic] has any bearing on my work in the classroom.” [Note: husbands are men and wives are women, so if Billard’s partner is his husband, that would make him his wife, and no one really believes that to be true. The Catholic League does not tolerate fake news.]
The Catholic Church also opposes racism and anti-Semitism. Does it not have the right to fire those who make bigoted remarks against whites, blacks, or Jews? Billard does not decide what the rules are for Catholic schools, and no one forced him to teach at one.
Billard and the ACLU are suing to make a cultural statement. Their bigoted attack on the autonomy of Charlotte Catholic High School shows a contempt for tolerance and diversity. They don’t have a moral, or a legal, leg to stand on.