Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The only thing stupider than this archdiocese is DOJ's Civil Rights Division

LGBTs for Trump
via Quartz
On Friday, the United States Department of Justice submitted a Statement of Interest in the matter of Joshua Payne-Elliot v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis. I wrote about this case last July. There you can read JPE's complaint filed in Indiana Commercial Court.

In sum, JPE has been employed by Cathedral High School in Indianapolis for 13 years. JPE had a valid employment contract as a “World Language Teacher-Master” with Cathedral High School in Indianapolis through the 2019-2020 academic year. JPE has been married to a man for over two years. JPE is a highly regarded professional with excellent performance reviews.

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson
Archbishop Charles C. Thompson of Indianapolis
Screencap via WRTV
When Archbishop Charles C. Thompson learned of JPE's “public” marriage, the prelate insisted that Cathedral terminate Payne-Elliot. When the school resisted Thompson threatened to revoke the school's Catholic charter. JPE's husband was employed as a teacher at another Catholic school. That school refused to terminate a valued teacher.

The conclusion of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division's pleading reads:
The First Amendment demands that this lawsuit be dismissed. Perhaps anticipating lawsuits like this one, the Supreme Court, in cementing Plaintiff’s constitutional right to civilly marry the person of his choosing, took care both to emphasize that “[m]any who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises,” and to reinforce the longstanding right of religious organizations to freely exercise their faith, which may include “advocat[ing] . . . that, by divine precepts, samesex marriage should not be condoned.” Obergefell, 135 S. Ct. at 2602, 2607.
The quote from Obergefell in greater context reads:
Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.
A right to tortious interference doesn't seem to be included in Justice Kennedy's prose. Keep in mind that this is just the opening chapter of this saga. In the next few months, the United State Equal Opportunity Commission will issue a “right to sue” letter. Upon receipt, the archdiocese will be sued in federal court for unlawful discrimination. Nowhere in the above does Justice Kennedy provide for a license to discriminate with indifference to applicable law.

DOJ continues with its final paragraph:
The Archdiocese has done exactly that. The Archdiocese determined that, consistent with its interpretation of Church teachings, a school within its diocesan boundaries cannot identify as Catholic and simultaneously employ a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage. Many may lament the Archdiocese’s determination. But the First Amendment forbids this Court from interfering with the Archdiocese’s right to expressive association, and from second-guessing the Archdiocese’s interpretation and application of Catholic law. For these reasons, this action must be dismissed.
The legal argument is far-fetched. Contract Law 101. Furthermore, Joshua Payne-Elliot is represented by Kathleen A. DeLaney who is a smart, tough-minded lawyer.

What inspires my ire is the fact that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has been corrupted. Essentially, DOJ is now doing the political bidding of Donald Trump and, in the process, seeks to trample on the rights of the underdog in this contest.

DOJ is attempting to influence an action in a state court. It is not involving itself in a precedent-setting case.

For his part, JPE has done what our culture asked of him. He is a responsible member of society in the same job for 13 years. With his husband he is forming a family. In addition to his teaching responsibilities JPE is a mentor.

Among his numerous extra-curricular work, JPE is the moderator of the Academic Olympics and co-moderator of the National Honor Society. The Archdiocese wants to discard him for TWG (teaching while gay) and the Trump administration supports this wrong. Our government was not compelled to weigh in on this matter. The administration made a conscious choice to attempt to influence the outcome of litigation for political expediency.

Peter Thiel should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. He owes his community an apology. If Richard Allen Grenell (openly gay and ambassador to Germany) had any honor he never would have accepted a Trump appointment. He is now an accomplice to Trump's anti-LGBTQ crusade. Being part of this toxic administration makes Grenell complicit. Trump is trying to hold onto his religious conservative base (hypocrites, the lot of them) at our expense.

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