CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
I. The Equal Protection Clause Claim
As noted above, the motivating factor behind the discharges of plaintiffs was that they were living together in a state of "open adultery." The defendants would have condoned plaintiffs' extra-marital "affair" and apparently would also have condoned the child's birth out of wedlock. Only the fact that plaintiffs chose to live together caused their discharges. The plaintiffs contend that there is no rational connection between their conduct and their fitness to perform their jobs; therefore, their discharges must be held to constitute a violation of the equal protection clause.
At the outset, the Court believes that it is appropriate for it to define what it perceives its role to be in a case of this nature. It is not the Court's function to impose its views of morality on the defendant Board of Trustees. Accordingly, I will not express any opinion as to the "rightness" or "wrongness" of plaintiffs' living arrangement. Our role is to determine only if the discharges of the plaintiffs violated the law. The plaintiffs were employees at will; therefore, unless their discharges were in violation of any of their constitutionally-protected rights, the Court will not intervene and overturn the decision of the defendants' to dismiss them from their jobs.
Under traditional equal protection analysis, a legislative classification must be sustained if the classification itself is rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest. See Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438, 31 L. Ed. 2d 349, 92 S. Ct. 1029 (1972); U.S. Dept. of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528, 37 L. Ed. 2d 782, 93 S. Ct. 2821 (1973). The defendants have propounded three reasons for the discharges, all of which revolve around their opposition to plaintiffs' living in a state of "open adultery." First, they contend that this living arrangement affects the ability of plaintiff Hollenbaugh to perform her functions as a librarian; secondly, they contend that retention of plaintiffs in their jobs adversely affects the library's ability to perform its function in the community; and, thirdly, they point out that plaintiffs have stated their intention to continue living together.
Plaintiffs contend that these reasons are not "rationally related" to any legitimate governmental interest and, in support thereof, direct the Court's attention to two cases which they argue are dispositive of the issue in their favor. In the first case, Andrews v. Drew Municipal Separate School District, 507 F.2d 611 (5th Cir. 1975), the Court held that a school board policy of firing unwed mothers is irrebuttably presumed to violate the equal protection clause. The effect of the school board's policy was that all unwed mothers were presumed to be unfit to teach. The basis of the Court's holding was that such a policy, by not weighing the circumstances of the individual case, was fraught with invidious discrimination. As the court stated: "The law is clear that due process interdicts the adoption by a state of an irrebuttable presumption, as to which the presumed fact does not necessarily follow the proven fact." Andrews v. Drew Municipal Separate School District, supra at 614.
The instant case is distinguishable from Andrews, as there is no evidence that the defendants had formulated any sort of uniform policy against the conduct the plaintiffs were engaged in or that they failed to assess the particularities of plaintiffs' case. Ms. Hollenbaugh was a librarian whose duties involved direct and frequent contacts with the community. She testified that she tried to spend a great deal of her time out of her office and on the floor of the library and that the majority of people she dealt with were children. Further, the community was well aware of plaintiffs' living arrangement and, as the Board members testified, they had a number of complaints from persons in the Connellsville community concerning that arrangement. McConnell v. Anderson, 451 F.2d 193 (8th Cir. 1971), the second case cited by plaintiffs, follows a line of reasoning similar to Andrews. In McConnell, the court held that a university Board of Regents' decision to refuse to hire the plaintiff, a homosexual, was not "arbitrary, unreasonable, or capricious;" accordingly, plaintiffs' request that the university's decision be enjoined was denied. The court's decision was not based purely on the fact that plaintiff was a homosexual, but rather that plaintiff had publicized his homosexuality and his views on equal rights for homosexuals through the media following his application for employment. The court concluded that the Board of Regents could reasonably have decided that to hire the plaintiff would be giving "tacit approval" to his conduct. McConnell v. Anderson, supra, at 196. Although plaintiffs in the instant case have not attempted to force their life style on the community of Connellsville, the community is well aware of their living arrangement. Like the Board of Regents in McConnell, therefore, the defendants could reasonably conclude that by retaining plaintiffs as employees they would be giving "tacit approval" to their conduct. The defendants, as members of the Board of Trustees, are charged with representing what they perceive to be the library's best interests in the community. As employees of a library in a relatively small community, plaintiffs were frequently called on to deal directly with that community. Under these circumstances, any rights plaintiffs have to live together must be balanced against the state's interest -- as represented by the library and its Board of Trustees in the instant case -- in being able to properly perform its function in the community.
It is possible, for example, that if plaintiffs were merely students at a state university, expulsion by that university based on their living arrangement would be an irrational classification violative of the equal protection clause. However, where plaintiffs are employed in a library and have direct contact with the community on a regular basis, the Court is not willing to call the Board's decision to dismiss an arbitrary, unreasonable, or capricious one. Accordingly, we conclude that the defendants' decision to discharge plaintiffs does not violate the equal protection clause.
II. Constitutional Rights of Privacy
Plaintiffs' next contention is that the action of the defendants in discharging them because they were living together in "open adultery," constituted an unwarranted intrusion into a matter fundamentally affecting plaintiffs' personal lives, and was, therefore, in violation of the constitutionally-guaranteed right of privacy under the First, Fourth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. See Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147, 93 S. Ct. 705 (1973); Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438, 31 L. Ed. 2d 349, 92 S. Ct. 1029 (1972). Although this right of privacy has been extended to several areas that have traditionally been categorized as "immoral,"
these decisions make it clear that "only personal rights that can be deemed 'fundamental' or 'implicit in the concept of ordered liberty' are included in this guarantee of personal privacy." Roe v. Wade, supra at 152. A review of the case law indicates that this right encompasses and protects the personal intimacies of the home, the family, motherhood, procreation and child rearing. See Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton, 413 U.S. 49, 66, 37 L. Ed. 2d 446, 93 S. Ct. 2628 (1973). Nothing, however, in these decisions concerning the right of privacy, intimates that there is any "fundamental" privacy right "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty" for two persons, one of whom is married, to live together under the circumstances of this case. We conclude, therefore, that plaintiffs' discharges were not violative of their constitutional right of privacy.
Hubert I. Teitelbaum United States District Judge
AND NOW, to-wit, this 15th day of September, 1977, in accordance with the above findings of fact and conclusions of law, IT IS ORDERED and DECREED that judgment be entered for the defendants and that plaintiffs' cause of action be dismissed.
Hubert I. Teitelbaum United States District Judge