Fired For Being LGBT

ENDA gets another vote on Monday. And the case for its passage is told in these stories of individuals sacked for simply being LGBT.


  UPDATED: June 05 2014 9:41 PM ET


Arkansas, October 2013
A Catholic high school in Arkansas terminated popular English teacher and coach Tippi McCullough on her wedding day. She married her same-sex partner in New Mexico and got a call from the principal. McCullough and her wife, Barb Mariani, both said they thought McCullough was singled out by Mount St. Mary’s Academy in Little Rock for being gay. The school said McCullough violated the terms of her contract, which has a clause allowing for dismissal if a staff member violates Roman Catholic teaching.

California, August 2013
Ken Bencomo had taught English at St. Lucy's Priory High School in Glendora, Calif., for 17 years until he was fired for getting married to his longtime partner. The Catholic school discovered his husband when they were photographed in a local newspaper article about marriage equality. Students have protested and appealed to the school board without any success in getting their teacher reinstated.

Texas, March 2013
Talented and respected, University of Texas track coach Bev Kearney (right) led her team to six NCAA championships. But she was ousted when news spread that she was in a relationship with one of her female students (who was of age). Whether that is acceptable or not, a white, male UT football coach kept his job after it was revealed he had an inappropriate relationship with a student trainer. Kearney has since filed a complaint of discrimination, based on her race, gender, and sexual orientation, with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Ohio, March 2013
Carla Hale's firing may be the most mean-spirited pink-slip you'll ever read about: the popular physical education teacher was let go after someone anonymously told her employers at Bishop Watterson High School that she was gay. How did they find out? The obituary for Hale's mother, who recently passed, mentioned Hale's partner. After 19 years of service, the Catholic school fired Hale a few weeks after she returned to work following her mother's death. An official with the school's diocese would only say that educators could be fired for "immorality." Hale's students rallied around her, gathering thousands of signatures calling for her reinstatement. "It’s amazing that they’ve come together and rallied around this situation," Hale told the local media. "I’m in awe of them."

Oregon, March 2013
Successful principal Tom Klansnic was served walking papers by the Gresham, Ore. school district because he divorced his wife and came out as gay, according to Klansic. The educator served as principal of Gresham Elementary School for 10 years, but his contract wasn't renewed for unclear reasons. Oregon does have workplace protections covering sexual orientation, so Klansnic has that on his side.

New York, August 2012
Mark Krolikowski was a well-respected teacher at St. Francis Prepatory School in Queens, but his gender nonconformity likely led to his dismissal. Krolikowski taught at the school for 32 years, but recently began dressing in women's clothing (he prefers to use his birth name and male pronouns). His principal took aim at his appearance, calling him "worse than gay" in 2011. After agreeing to "tone down" his appearance, and receiving excellent marks for his teaching, Krolikowski was fired from the school in August 2012. His attorneys say New York City's laws should have protected his job.

Tags: ENDA, Politics