Christa Dias, a lesbian teacher who was fired after she became pregnant through artificial insemination, has begun telling her side of the events to jurors in the trial of her lawsuit against a Roman Catholic archdiocese and its schools, reports the Associated Press.
Dias filed her case in 2010, claiming she was fired simply because she had a child out of wedlock, which violates the federal law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination.
However, representatives for the archdiocese deny her dismissal was based on discrimination. Instead, they claim Dias’s pregnancy violated her contract to abide by Catholic doctrine, which states that artificial insemination is immoral.
But Dias alleges that the policy is not equally enforced. She claims church officials were aware that a former employee and his wife had used artificial insemination when they were trying to have a child, and no disciplinary action was taken against him.
Though Dias has not claimed her sexual orientation was a factor in her dismissal, the defense attorney for the archdiocese used her sexuality to discredit her in his opening statement to a federal jury assigned to the case, saying “the evidence will show that Dias never really intended to abide by the contract” because she knew the church didn’t approve of homosexuality and planned to keep the fact that she was a lesbian a secret.
The case is the second to be filed in the past two years against the archdiocese over the firing of a unmarried pregnant teacher and is being viewed by many as a future indicator of the degree to which religious organizations may regulate the private lives of their employees.