Meet the People Fired for Being LGBT in 2013
BY Sunnivie Brydum
December 18 2013 6:30 AM ET
Tippi McCullough, English teacher at Mount St. Mary's Academy in Little Rock, Ark., until October:
Tippi McCullough hadn't even gotten back to her home in Arkansas after a trip to marry her partner in New Mexico when the principal at the school where McCullough worked for 15 years called inform her she didn't have a job to return to.
McCullough said that while on the road, she spoke with Mount St. Mary’s Academy principal Diane Wolfe. "She told me she never thought the day would come, that I was a great teacher and that she would give me a glowing recommendation if I resigned," McCullough told the Arkansas Times. "She said her hands were tied when I signed a legal document."
That document is McCullough’s contract, which has a clause allowing for dismissal if a staff member violates Roman Catholic teaching. When McCullough asked Wolfe how, specifically, she had breached the contract, Wolfe "said she wasn’t going to get into a theological discussion and there was nothing she could do," McCullough told the newspaper.
McCullough and her wife, Barb Mariani, both said they thought McCullough was singled out for being gay. The women also said academy officials knew of their relationship, although McCullough has never discussed it with students. They had been together 14 years before marrying in New Mexico, where several counties grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"They hire people who aren't Catholic, with a lot of different belief systems," Mariani told the Times. "What's upsetting to me is that the morality clause covers birth control, premarital sex, and they are certainly not pro-choice. It's disturbing to me that no straight teacher is called in and asked if she's using birth control or unmarried and having premarital sex with a boyfriend."