INDIANAPOLIS — A second guidance counselor at an Indiana Catholic school has been told she will lose her job because she is in a same-sex marriage.
A lawyer for Lynn Starkey, co-director of guidance at Roncalli High School, says school officials told her that her contract will not be renewed for the 2019-2020 school year.
“Starkey’s 39 years of exemplary employment, including teacher of the year recognition in 2009, will end because she is in a same-sex marriage and because she filed discrimination complaints,” Attorney Kathleen DeLaney said Monday in an emailed statement.
Delaney said she will amend a discrimination charge Starkey filed in November with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to include the fact that Starkey is losing her job.
The archdiocese, in an email from spokesman Greg Otolski, said the Catholic schools’ staff and teachers are employed on one-year contracts that do not automatically renew.
“Ms. Starkey is currently in breach of her contract with Roncalli High School because she is in a civil union that is considered ‘contrary to a valid marriage as seen through the eyes of the Catholic Church,'” the archdiocese said.
“The 2019-2020 contract language will contain the same language. Therefore, Ms. Starkey could not in good faith enter into the contract so long as she is unable to abide by the terms of the contract.”
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Starkey has been married to her spouse since 2015. She worked alongside Shelly Fitzgerald, another counselor placed on leave in August after Roncalli learned that Fitzgerald had been married to another woman.
Fitzgerald’s sudden removal from her job sparked protests and national media attention, including an appearance on Ellen Degeneres’ popular talk show.
Soon after Fitzgerald’s suspension, Roncalli posted a statement on Facebook explaining that all employees must support the teachings of the Catholic church, including the belief that marriage is “between a man and a woman.”
The expectation is defined in employee contracts and job descriptions, the school said.
“When the expectations of a contract are not being met, the employee and the school will attempt to reach a resolution so that the contractual requirements are fulfilled,” the statement said.
The Facebook statement has since been removed.
Delaney said the Archdiocese of Indianapolis runs more than 60 schools and employs thousands of people.
“We are confident that many, if not most of those employees, do not follow all of the church’s teachings all of the time,” Delaney said.
“We are shocked and saddened that Roncalli and the archdiocese have targeted this exemplary guidance counselor for discriminatory and retaliatory enforcement of church doctrine.”
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