The Eagle-Tribune reports that the pregnant-but-unmarried couple fired by Lawrence Catholic has agreed to accept the pro bono offer from local attorney Anthony DiFruscia.
Sean Houlihan and Natalie Ferland, who were fired from Lawrence Catholic Academy after revealing they were having a child before getting married, have retained an attorney and are pursuing legal action against the school.
Attorney Anthony DiFruscia of Lawrence said his first step is requesting their personnel files from the school. “Then we will be pursuing possible wrongful termination action,” DiFruscia said.
Oh, goody–a “wrongful termination action.” So instead of this being a story about a (possibly) heartless employer and a (potentially) rule-breaking employee, it’s going to turn into a legal action over the right of a private religious institution to require employees to respect and/or promote its religious values.
This is bad news for everyone who believes in liberty and freedom. The Catholic Church should be free to run its religious institutions and practicing Catholics should have the right to send their kids to one. And these teachers should be free to choose to teach there–or not.
All of this could be put at risk, particularly in an anti-freedom, anti-Catholic climate like the Massachusetts court system.
In fact, one of these cases has already gone wildly wrong, according to the Eagle-Tribune:
In June, a teacher who previously worked at a Catholic school in Ohio won a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Christa Dias was fired in October 2010 after revealing she was pregnant and unmarried.
Dias, who is gay, became pregnant by artificial insemination — which the church considers immoral and a violation of church doctrine. The church argued her contract required her to comply with the philosophies and teachings of the Catholic church, according to news reports.
A federal jury said the archdiocese violated anti-discrimination laws, according to reports.
Uh…..WHAT?! So you’re pregnant, unmarried and a lesbian–and you can STILL KEEP YOUR GIG AT A CATHOLIC SCHOOL?
I did a little research and the case is actually worse. Dias signed the contract agreeing to uphold Catholic teachings, and admits she never had any intention of obeying it. She was lying from the beginning, but still won a $170,000 judgment from a federal jury.
Much, much more on this Lawrence story on today’s radio show!