An Ohio school teacher who was fired by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for getting pregnant through artificial insemination claimed on Wednesday during a trial that she was discriminated against.
Christa Dias was fired in 2010 from Holy Family and St. Lawrence schools in East Price Hill, Cincinnati, because she was deemed to have violated the archdiocese's code which requires employees to follow the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. Although Dias claims that church policies aren't enforced equally on men and women, the archdiocese is denying any accusations of discrimination.
"What's at stake here is really very simple: Parents who pay to send their children to a Catholic school have a right to expect that those children will be educated in an environment that reflects Catholic moral teaching. That's why our standard school contract specifies that employees will abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church. That's the contract that Ms. Dias signed and she violated the contract," Dan Andriacco, Communications director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati told The Christian Post on Wednesday.
Andriacco added that the contract clearly states that employees must "comply with and act consistently in accordance with the stated philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the policies and directives of the archdiocese," and that it applies equally to men and women.
The Associated Press noted that Dias is not a Catholic, and that she taught computer technology. When she decided to get pregnant through artificial insemination in 2010, she was unmarried and claimed that she did not know about the Catholic Church's stance on the issue. She sued over her dismissal.
A man who was formerly employed at a youth ministry at a suburban Dayton parish testified that he and his wife decided to use artificial insemination to conceive a child, but he was not fired or disciplined by the archdiocese for that decision.
On Tuesday, Dias' attorney showed jurors a photo of the former teacher's 2-year old daughter, and argued that Dias, who is gay, always wanted to have a child and get pregnant through artificial insemination.
Although the lawsuit does not claim that Dias was fired because of her sexual orientation, Steve Goodin, an attorney for the archdiocese, argued that she had kept the fact that she was gay a secret from the schools because she knew the church does not approve of homosexuality. Goodin added that this could be used as evidence to show that she never intended to honor her contract in the first place.
Fox News noted that Dias is hoping to get back lost wages and benefits, and wants "to make sure they can't do this to anyone else."
"I'm disappointed more than anything that I couldn't continue my career because I wanted a child," the Ohio teacher previously said.
Attorneys for the schools affirmed that it was her choices that got her fired from her job.
"Above all, this is a case about a contract," the lawyers argued. "This is not the classic pregnancy discrimination case in which pretexts must be evaluated and discriminatory intent must be divined."