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Teacher who is an unwed Lesbian Mother - who was artificially inseminated - sues Archdiocese of Cincinnati for dismissal

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Former teacher Christa Dias is suing the Archdiocese of Cincinnati over her dismissal in 2010. She contends she was fired because she was pregnant and unmarried. Dias is an open practicing lesbian who underwent artificial insemination in order to have a child. Both facts are in direct violation of the Moral teaching of the catholic Church. She claims that after being artificially inseminated she was let go due to her being unmarried and pregnant.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Dias' attorney Robert Klingler argued to a federal jury in opening statements that the firing violated federal law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination.

In response, the archdiocese's attorney, Steve Goodin told jurors "there was no discrimination," saying Dias was fired for violating a contract that required her to abide by Catholic Moral Teaching and that she was well aware of that obligation. 

Dias, who is not a Catholic, is also attempting to allege that church policy is not enforced equally against men and women. She pointed to Jack Frazine, who formerly worked as a youth minister at St. Paul Parish in Englewood. He testified that some church officials were aware that he and his wife used artificial insemination when they were trying to have a child and that he was not fired or disciplined in any way.

The archdiocese has argued that Dias was a ministerial employee. The US Supreme Court in 2012  clearly affirmed the longstanding body of law protecting Churches in their employment decisions in the Hosanna Tabor decision. Religious groups can dismiss employees who openly oppose and defy Church doctrine. 

Klingler insists that Dias had no ministerial duties. However, the Hosanna-Tabor case involved a lay woman teacher in a Lutheran school and a unanimous court upheld the right of the Church school in the dismissal.

Dias' attorney argued that she wanted to have a child and decided to get pregnant through artificial insemination. In his opening statement he showed the jurors a photo of Dias' now 2-year-old daughter. He maintained that Dias did not know that artificial insemination would be considered a violation of her contract and Catholic doctrine by her employers.

He said that Dias loved her job teaching computer classes at the schools and believes she is "a good teacher and a good moral person," he said.

Archdiocese attorney Goodin noted that "the evidence will show that Dias never really intended to abide by the contract." He said she kept the fact that she was a practicing lesbian a secret because she knew that the Catholic Church teaches that though all persons, including those with same sex attraction, are to be treated with dignity, homosexual activity is objectively disordered and immoral. "That all goes to her credibility," he said.

Goodin maintains that Dias' lawsuit is "about money, plain and simple" and the evidence will show that Dias is not entitled to any damages. Dias is seeking unspecified damages to cover lost wages and "for the pain and emotional stress," caused by the firing, Klingler said.

The lawsuit is being seen as a barometer to the degree to which religious organizations can maintain their position that those who teach in their schools abide by the moral teaching of the Church in their lives. This is the second lawsuit filed in the last two years against the archdiocese over the firing of an unmarried pregnant teacher.

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