Same sex marriage is now legal nationwide pursuant to a 2015 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the
Obergefell case. However, Oregon religious entities should keep in mind that, pursuant to an Oregon statute, they are not required to hire or continue to employ someone in a same sex marriage.
They cannot be held liable for employment discrimination based on such actions if they have a “bona fide religious belief” against same sex marriage.
Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 659A.006(1) makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate based on “sexual orientation” or “marital status.”
However, ORS 659A.006(5), which was enacted in 2007, contains an exemption from ORS 659A.006(1) for “bona fide churches” and other “religious institutions.”
John Kaempf, the author of this newsletter, successfully defended a lawsuit against a Catholic school and its private investigator brought by a religion teacher at the school.
The unmarried teacher was fired for admittedly having premarital sex in violation of Catholic doctrine. The defendant school hired the co-defendant investigator to evaluate the plaintiff’s claim that she was raped by a co-worker.
John Kaempf, the author of this newsletter, successfully defended a lawsuit filed by a student expelled by a religious high school, whose parents also sued the school.
The student was expelled due to repeated instances of misconduct at school. He sought damages for the alleged “loss of value” due to not graduating from the school and for the allegedly resulting loss of