A gay teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina is suing a Catholic school for unfair dismissal after he announced his impending marriage to another man.
According to the lawsuit, Charlotte Catholic High School violated federal employment law by firing Lonnie Billard (above left, with his partner Rich) in 2014 after a Facebook post about his wedding.
Last year, diocese spokesman David Hains said Billard was not fired for being gay but for violating an employment contract that prohibited him from opposing church teaching.
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He posted about his upcoming wedding in October 2014, and was informed by an assistant principal several weeks later that he no longer had a job with the school.
Not long after that, local diocese spokesman David Hains publicly stated that Billard was let go for “going on Facebook, entering into a same-sex relationship, and saying it in a very public way that he does not agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church,” according to the lawsuit.
Hains said Wednesday that officials from the diocese hadn’t seen the lawsuit and typically don’t comment on pending litigation.
Billard’s lawyers argue the firing violates prohibitions against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
In a statement, Billard said: “I know that the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage, but I don’t think my commitment to my husband has any bearing on my work in the classroom. I have never hidden the fact that I’m gay and my relationship with my partner was no secret at school.”