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Setback for Indiana diocese in IVF-dismissal case

Catholic World News - October 09, 2013

A federal judge has ordered the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend to turn over some personnel records in a case involving a woman who was dismissed from her teaching post in a Catholic school after undergoing in vitro fertilization.

The diocese invoked a contractual morals clause in dismissing her from her position.

Emily Herx, the teacher, contends she was the victim of discrimination, and her attorney sought the release of diocesan personnel records to discover how diocese applied the morals clause in other cases. The diocese, in turn, argued that this an order to turn over records would violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

“The Defendants’ bare assertion that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause preclude certain discovery requests is unfounded,” ruled Magistrate Judge Roger Cosbey. “The Religious Clauses preclude the Government from taking certain actions with respect to religions institutions; they are not implicated in discovery requests from one private party to another.”

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