A potentially landmark Supreme Court decision in a dispute over a Colorado wedding cake has put a gay substitute teacher’s lawsuit in Charlotte on hold. Lonnie Billard, a former teacher of the year at Charlotte Catholic High, lost his substitute’s job after he announced his 2014 engagement to his longtime male partner on Facebook. He sued, charging discrimination by the school and Catholic leaders in Charlotte. Instead of a trial, both sides have asked U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney to decide the case. As of Tuesday, Whitney’s ruling is on indefinite delay. Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. SUBSCRIBE NOW According to the judge’s new order, the Billard ruling will circle the federal docket until the Supreme Court decides the Colorado case, which Whitney says involves similar church/state issues. The justices are to hear the Colorado dispute on Dec. 5. They’ll issue a ruling next year. U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney of Charlotte has delayed his ruling in the discrimination lawsuit by a gay Charlotte substitute teacher until the Supreme Court decides a Colorado same-sex dispute next year. Observer file In 2012, a Denver-area baker refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing both his spiritual opposition to gay marriage and, more recently, the First Amendment protection of his artistic expression in creating a custom cake. The couple sued, claiming discrimination. The Colorado Supreme Court agreed, ruling that making a cake, no matter how artistic, is an expected part of the baker’s business – not protected free speech nor the free exercise of religion. The baker appealed. Fifteen hundred miles east, the opposing sides in the Billard case are debating whether secular employees of religious employers are protected by workplace-discrimination laws. In 2015, the high court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal nationwide. The Catholic Church recognizes only the traditional form of marriage between a woman and a man, and Bishop Peter Jugis said the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte would be “irreparably damaged” if it cannot fire employees, such as Billard, who publicly