Fired Indianapolis Catholic school counselor files lawsuit

A former guidance counselor at an Indianapolis Catholic high school who was fired for being in a same-sex marriage is suing the archdiocese.

Shelly Fitzgerald’s federal lawsuit names the Indianapolis archdiocese and Roncalli High School as defendants. It alleges that Fitzgerald was discriminated against and faced retaliation because of her sexual orientation.

Fitzgerald married her wife, Victoria, in 2014. Fitzgerald had worked at Roncalli High School for 15 years before being placed on administrative leave last year because of her same-sex marriage. She was later fired.

Her lawsuit, filed Monday, seeks unspecified damages, including for lost wages and emotional distress.

The archdiocese said in a statement that the U.S. Supreme Court “has repeatedly recognized that religious schools have a constitutional right to hire leaders who support the schools’ religious mission.”

Fitzgerald is the second Roncalli guidance counselor fired because of her same-sex relationship who later sued. Lynn Starkey, a 39-year employee at the school who worked alongside Fitzgerald, sued the school and the Indianapolis archdiocese in June, claiming discrimination and a hostile workplace.

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