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Gender Identity in Schools: Catholic School Contests Law Forcing the Hire of LGBTQ+ Teachers

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Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish is a Catholic school in Michigan currently contesting a state law. Why? The law reportedly compels the school to violate its religious principles by hiring people who don’t subscribe to Catholic teachings.

The law in question extends sex discrimination prohibitions to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. As such, the school believes the law can force it to employ staff not directly aligned with its faith-based message.

The school has been receiving support from Jewish and Muslim groups in its legal battle. The lawsuit argues that the law infringes upon the school’s right to free speech and free exercise rights. This could lead to discriminatory claims.

ALSO READ: LGBTQ+ Students Speak Out After School Board Returned a Grant They Won for Their School 

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The plaintiffs write: “In particular, [the groups] fear that the misapplication or retrenchment of the coreligionist exemption would have an especially deleterious effect on adherents of minority religious faiths who often organize collectively to learn, teach, act, and serve as an expression and exercise of their faith.” 

They also don’t subscribe to the current “discretionary exemption scheme that starts with a burdensome application process and ends by hoping that a bureaucrat will deign to dole out an exemption” by Democratic State Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The school claims that they would be required by law to “hire faculty and staff who lead lives in direct opposition to the Catholic faith and speak messages that violate Church doctrine.”

The new staff will also refrain from sharing Catholic beliefs. Whether in teaching its students or when simply advertising the school to prospective students or job applicants.

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They believe that all of the above violates Sacred Heart’s free speech and free exercise rights. The plaintiffs have promised: “Rather than defy Catholic doctrine in these ways, Sacred Heart would shut down.”

The lawsuit states that: “Sacred Heart’s standard of conduct requires that employees must be consistent, in expression and example, with the teaching and practice of the Catholic faith and shall not advocate, encourage, or counsel beliefs or practices that are inconsistent with the Catholic faith.”

The brief warns that if religious organizations cannot limit their membership to those who believe in their mission, it undermines those institutions. The school is afraid of aggressive government enforcement. It believes it is being forced to choose between making compromises on its religious beliefs or shutting down.

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ALSO READ: Federal Judge Pressured to Declare the Montana Drag Reading Ban Unconstitutional

This new lawsuit is just one of the many currently happening all across the nation. Recently, the need for the discussion of teaching boundaries and how they relate to the LGBTQ+ continues to grow. 

There have been cases of students boycotting classes due to transgender issues, teachers suing their school boards for unlawful dismissals for offenses related to gender identity, and many more. 

Is there really no place for gender identity in schools? 

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