The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis has the constitutional right to require its ministerial staff to teach and practice Catholic doctrine, Attorney General Curtis Hill said today.

In a brief filed with the Indiana Supreme Court, Attorney General Hill calls for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese by a Cathedral High School teacher upset that he was fired from the religious institution after entering into a same-sex marriage.

A Marion Superior Court judge handling the lawsuit has permitted the case to move forward — even offering his own opinions on Catholic history and discussing the church’s doctrine on homosexuality based on his personal knowledge of a gay priest.

“The suit should have been dismissed immediately under the First Amendment’s longstanding protections for church autonomy,” Attorney General Hill states in the brief. Short of dismissing the lawsuit, he adds, the Indiana Supreme Court at least should hold that the trial court’s decision refusing to grant the Archdiocese immunity from the litigation is immediately appealable.

“Courts harm themselves when they go looking for churches to fix,” Attorney General Hill states in the brief. “The trial judge’s actions here improperly interjected judicial power into ecclesiastical matters, and this Court should dismiss the case before the judiciary suffers further loss of esteem.”

The full brief can be viewed here.

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