.- The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, yesterday, decided in favor of the Ursuline Academy of Wilmington, which was accused of sex discrimination after they fired a Pro-abortion teacher. The case had named the Academy itself, as well as some of its former employees, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, and Bishop Michael Saltarelli.
Michele Curay-Cramer taught English and Religion at Ursuline Academy, an independent Catholic school in Wilmington, Delaware. In January 2003, on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Curay-Cramer signed onto a full-page ad in the Wilmington News Journal, praising the Roe decision and declaring her pro-abortion position. The Ursulines, however, are a decidedly pro-life organization and on the same day were sponsoring a field trip of its students to Washington, DC to protest the Roe decision and declare the school's pro-life position.
Following her public declaration on abortion, Curay-Cramer was terminated by the school. Curay-Cramer quickly sued the school (and others), claiming her discharge was sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Today’s decision rejected Curay-Cramer’s claims under Title VII and affirmed a motion of dismissal, granted in November 2004, by the federal District Court.
According to a release from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonpartisan, interfaith, public-interest law firm which filed the motion for dismissal, one of the claims under Title VII was again dismissed because it threatened to violate the First Amendment, but two others were found so weak under Title VII that the Court did not even have to reach the constitutional question.
Anthony Picarello, President & General Counsel of the Becket Fund said in the press release that, "The Third Circuit reaffirmed what should have been obvious all along: Title VII was not designed to prevent a religious school from firing a teacher for publicly repudiating the school's religious teaching. To rule otherwise would threaten fundamental religious freedom interests of the school guaranteed by the First Amendment."