The statement added that parents rely on the Archdiocese to ensure that their students are receiving an authentically Catholic education.
“Many families in our community have sacrificed so their children can attend schools where they will learn the Catholic faith. They rely on the Archdiocese to uphold the fullness of Catholic teaching throughout its schools, and the Constitution fully protects the Church’s efforts to do so,” the Archdiocese said.
Fisher filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Roncalli and the Archdiocese, both of which are also facing a recently filed federal lawsuit from Fitzgerald, who claimed her firing was discriminatory in nature.
Fitzgerald entered a civil same-sex marriage in 2014. According to the Indianapolis Star, after her civil marriage was brought to the school’s attention, Fitzgerald was asked to resign of her own accord, dissolve the civil marriage, or to maintain discretion about the situation until her contract expired. She refused these options and was placed on administrative leave at the beginning of the last school year, and remained on leave until her employment contract expired.
David Page, Fitzgerald's lawyer, argued in the lawsuit that his client was treated differently than heterosexual employees who have disobeyed other Catholic teachings.
In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Fisher said she was let go after she made two public Facebook posts in support of Fitzgerald and Starkey and advocating for a change in the archdiocesan contracts that require employees to adhere to Catholic teaching in and out of the classroom.
“As an advocate for social justice and against discrimination, I really felt, you know, propelled to make that public statement,” Fisher told the Indianapolis Star.
“Our job is, as a counselor or social worker, that we don't bring our values or judgment into a session,” she added. “And I feel very strongly about that.”
Fisher and three anonymous employees also told the Indianapolis Star that they were told by Roncalli that they needed to get permission to attend an event for Shelly’s Voice, a non-profit founded by Roncalli students in support of Fitzgerald after she was placed on leave.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis said in its statement that these employees were “mistaken.”
“No teachers or counselors were told they need permission to attend outside events or civil weddings of any kind,” the Archdiocese said. “The expectations for all teachers and counselors at Roncalli are clearly laid out in the school handbook, and the superintendent of Catholic schools meets with any employees who have questions.”
The Archdiocese has been the subject of multiple recent complaints and lawsuits due to its policy on same-sex marriages for school employees.
A Jesuit high school in the archdiocese, Brebeuf Prep, appealed to the Vatican after the archdiocese revoked its Catholic status earlier this year when it would not terminate an employee in a same-sex civil marriage. That appeal is still pending.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
In August, Joshua Payne-Elliot, a teacher dismissed from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, filed suit after he was dismissed for contracting a same-sex civil marriage. In September, the federal Department of Justice said the school’s decision was protected by the First Amendment.
Despite these challenges, the Archdiocese reported that “staff retention at Roncalli High School was 88 percent this past year, which is Roncalli’s highest staff retention rate in the past five years.”
“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis remains committed to providing high quality, holistic Catholic education and formation so that young people recognize the many gifts with which they have been blessed, and in turn strive to make God known, loved, and served,” the statement added.
“We invite anyone seeking a Christ-centered, student-focused learning environment where young people are supported in being the best versions of themselves to check out one or more of the 67 Catholic schools in central and southern Indiana.”