The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts heard a case last month focusing on whether a religious college had the right to deny a promotion to a professor who criticized the school’s anti-LGBTQ policies.

Margaret DeWeese-Boyd sued Gordon College in Wenham after she was denied a promotion to full professor. DeWeese-Boyd, who has taught at the school for 20 years, claims she is being punished for vocally opposing the school’s policies on LGBTQ rights.

Under a legal doctrine known as the “ministerial exception,” religious educational institutions have been given broad latitude to hire and fire as they see fit when employees have explicit religious responsibilities.

DeWeese-Boyd denies that her duties are primarily religious. Reuters reported that her attorney, Hillary Schwab, argued that while DeWeese-Boyd “approaches her work from a Christian perspective,” she was never given overtly religious duties such as leading sermons or teaching theology.

Gordon College is being defended by the Becket Fund, a Religious Right legal group. Eric Baxter, a Becket Fund attorney, told the court that DeWeese-Boyd can’t sue because “[s]he described her work as integrally Christian, furthering the kingdom of God, and participating in the ministry of Christian reconciliation.” (DeWeese-Boyd v. Gordon College)

BREAKING:

The Supreme Court just gutted decades of precedent by stripping away public school students’ religious freedom rights.

This is the greatest loss of religious freedom in generations. Help us fight back!

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