PARAMUS, N.J. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The court battle involving an openly lesbian Catholic teacher is continuing to escalate as attorneys representing the school are urging that the case be dismissed.
In a lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Hackensack, New Jersey, Kate Drumgoole alleges Paramus Catholic High School in northeastern New Jersey terminated her employment as dean to guidance after school officials learned she was "married" to another woman. Drumgoole contends her firing violates state anti-discrimination laws.
Now the school is fighting back, with the attorney representing Paramus arguing the school did not breach state law, as New Jersey Laws Against Discrimination allow the church and institutions operated under it to hire and fire based on the individual's cooperation with Church teaching. Drumgoole, they maintain, "was not terminated because of her sexual orientation" but instead owing to her "violating the Ministerial Policies and the Code of Ethics — in failing to abide by the tenets of the Roman Catholic faith, i.e., by entering into a same-sex marriage."
Drumgoole and her legal representation are countering this argument, claiming multiple individuals currently employed by Paramus Catholic High School are engaged in various situations that do not conform with Church teaching, including an openly gay (unmarried) teacher, as well as divorced faculty members and several employees cohabiting with members of the same sex.
"There are people who are living lives that go against the tenets of the Church and they're still employed there," Drumgoole contends. The plaintiff also insists because she did not teach religious education, her sexual orientation and "marriage" to a woman should not affect her employment.
The situation originated in images sent to the high school's Facebook page in January that featured Drumgoole and partner Jaclyn Vanore at their August 2014 wedding. Drumgoole was informed by school officials she had until January 25 to resign or her employment would be terminated.
The move comes amid a wave of dismissals of teachers following last year's landmark Supreme Court ruling, which enshrined same-sex "marriage" as a constitutional right. According to New Ways ministry, a pro-LGBT dissident blog that self-describes as Catholic, over 50 Catholic school employees have been released since the June 2015 High Court ruling based solely on their entering into same-sex "marriages."