Lonnie Billard worked at Charlotte Catholic High School for more than a decade – both as full-time drama and as a long-term substitute teacher – and has won numerous teaching awards, including teacher of the year. In October 2014 Lonnie wrote a Facebook post announcing that he and his long-time partner were getting married. Later that year, the school told Lonnie he could no longer work as a substitute teacher because his engagement and marriage to another man was contrary to the religious principles of the Catholic Church.

     The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Tin Fulton Walker & Owen filed a lawsuit in the Western District of North Carolina under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex. Firing an employee for marrying a same-sex partner qualifies as sex-based discrimination under Title VII. Even though Mr. Billard worked at a private religious school, the school cannot illegally engage in sex discrimination against an employee who performs only secular job functions.

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