Sharon “Laine” Tadlock served as director of the University’s education program at its campus in Springfield, Illinois. In the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court’s invention of a state constitutional right to “same-sex marriage,” Tadlock and her female partner got “married” in Iowa. Upon Tadlock’s return, she published a wedding announcement in the local newspaper. In it, she identified herself as a Benedictine University employee. By doing so, she publicly flouted the University’s religious teaching on marriage. In response, the University transferred her to a different job position, with the same salary and benefits. She failed to appear for work on the appointed day, thereby resigning her employment.
Tadlock complained to the Illinois Department of Human Rights that the University had discriminated against her on the basis of her sexual orientation. The Department rejected her claim, reasoning that anything the University did to her (and it denies any adverse treatment) was motivated not by her sexual orientation, her sexual behavior, or her “marriage,” but instead by her public flouting — in a newspaper announcement in which she identified herself as a University employee – of the school’s religious teaching.
The Alliance Defense Fund assisted in the University’s defense.