Judge Denies Request From Local Diocese, Fertility Case Will Continue (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch

March 12, 2013 Updated Mar 12, 2013 at 5:48 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) -- The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has been denied their request that the judge rule on a lawsuit, involving the firing of a teacher after she underwent in vitro fertilization, in the earliest stages of the case.

Diocesan officials decided not to renew the contract of St. Vincent de Paul School language arts teacher, Emily Herx, who suffers from infertility, after they discovered that she had underwent in vitro fertilization, which is banned under Catholic doctrine.

Infertility is a protected disability under the American's with Disabilities Act, and Herx filed a lawsuit about a year ago claiming that the termination of her employment with the school violates this act and her civil rights. Last January, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission found in Herx's favor.

Attorneys representing the diocese asked the U.S. District Court judge to dismiss the complaint citing that the religious employer acted in a manner consistent with its belief and that the Civic Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act make exceptions for religious institutions. They also argued that even if Herx's termination was considered discriminatory, enforcing these laws would be a violation of the church's constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller denied the request by the diocese to dismiss the complaint and says that the case will continue. Both sides will discuss how the case will proceed later this month.

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