Supreme Court upholds 'ministerial exception'

Redford Township church at center of Supreme Court ruling

DETROIT - The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Wednesday to uphold a "ministerial exception" that, under the Constitution, exempts ministers from America's anti-descrimination laws.

The court's ruling was a result of the case of Cheryl Perich, who was a teacher at the Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church and School in Redford Township.

Perich went on leave from her teaching position in 2004 when she was diagnosed with narcolepsy. When her doctor allowed her to return to work, the school asked her to resign. Perich threatened to sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The school did not deny that it fired Perich. It said its faith requires such disputes be resolved within the church.

The Supreme Court sided with the church on Wednesday saying its actions were protected by the First Amendment's freedom of religion guarantee.

Stacy Hoeft was principal at the school when the lawsuit was first filed.

"This wasn't really about whether or not it was fair for the church to hire/fire her, but it was about whether or not she could be considered a minister," Hoeft said.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the church "must be free to choose those who will guide it on its way."

Local 4 called Perich Wendesday night for her feedback on the ruling, but she did not return calls.

Do you agree with the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the "ministerial exception" that says the Constitution exempts ministers from the nation's anti-discrimination laws?

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