Jury Awards $171,000 to Teacher Who Was Fired After Artificial Insemination—UPDATED

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A federal jury awarded Christa Dias $171,000 after finding a Catholic school discriminated against her for conceiving a baby out of wedlock via artificial insemination.

The court case that asked whether Catholic schools can legally fire a pregnant teacher for violating church doctrine came close to a conclusion last week after a day of testimony from the teacher and her former bosses.

Dias, 33, was fired in 2010 for conceiving a baby out of wedlock via artificial insemination. A Christian lesbian who is not Catholic, she taught computers at Holy Family and St. Lawrence schools.

Each year she signed employment contracts generally requiring her to uphold Catholic doctrine.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott told jurors that just because a person signs an employment contract with a morality clause, that doesn’t mean they have waived federal protections against discrimination.

Even so, attorneys for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati accused Dias of looking for “loopholes” in Catholic doctrine to rationalize signing those contracts, especially since she planned to artificially conceive and not marry the baby’s father, who is a gay friend.

UPDATE: Deacon Keith Fournier, a constitutional lawyer, has some context and analysis.


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