(AP) — A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an
Indiana woman who says a Catholic diocese fired her from her teaching job
because she had in vitro fertilization.
Judge Robert Miller cleared the way Monday for a trial on Emily Herx's
lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
had no comment on the ruling, spokesman Sean McBride said Tuesday.
Hoagland, Ind., sued the diocese in April 2012, saying her teaching
contract was not renewed after diocese officials learned she had undergone
in vitro fertilization, which is banned under Catholic doctrine. The Equal
Employment Opportunities Commission ruled in her favor in January 2012.
attorneys said Herx's complaint should be dismissed because of a federal
law that prevents religious workers from suing their employers for job
discrimination. Diocese teachers are required by their contracts to abide
by Catholic tenets, and any court review of church teachings or employment
practices would violate the constitutional separation of church and state
and constitutional freedom of religion, they said.
"No court has
ever held that to be the law anywhere in the country," attorney Kathleen
A. DeLaney said Tuesday. "So it was a very extreme legal position for them
attorneys contend her dismissal is a case of gender discrimination and of
disability discrimination based on her infertility.
fertilization, or IVF, involves mixing egg and sperm in a laboratory dish
and transferring resulting embryos into the womb.