Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

ICYMI: Mount St. Mary teacher's resignation letter, forced on account of her marriage

Posted By on Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 7:25 AM

click to enlarge NEWLYWEDS: Barb Mariani (left) and Tippi McCullough, human faces to the march toward civil rights.
  • NEWLYWEDS: Barb Mariani (left) and Tippi McCullough, human faces to the march toward civil rights.
I posted a link to this last night, but just to make the record clear:

Tippi McCullough, in her 15th year as an English teacher and coach at Mount St. Mary Academy, did send a resignation letter yesterday to principal Diane Wolfe, who told her she otherwise would be fired because she married her partner, Little Rock deputy prosecutor Barb Mariani, earlier in the week in New Mexico. This is known as a constructive firing, Wolfe removed McCullough from the Mount St. Mary staff roster Thursday night.

McCullough wrote:


Pursuant to the conversation we had Wednesday evening, I sadly and respectfully resign my position as English and Theory of Knowledge teacher at Mount St. Mary Academy after fifteen years of coaching and teaching.

I am tendering my resignation on the basis that I was notified by you that my legal marriage on October 16, 2013 in New Mexico to my partner of fourteen years was a violation of the moral clause in my contract because my "lifestyle" is considered contrary to Catholic teaching.

I am greatly disappointed that the powers who control the hiring and firing at Mount St. Mary have taken this stance which seems to be in direct opposition to the Mercy Value recognizing "The Intrinsic Worth and Dignity of Each Person." It is especially heartbreaking because the Mercy Values were one of the many reasons that made it such an honor and joy to work at Mount St. Mary Academy.

I am truly thankful for the love shown to me by current and former students, parents, and teachers.


Tippi McCullough

Mount St. Mary has refused to answer our calls or e-mails about the matter, but one official told the Democrat-Gazette it wouldn't discuss personnel matters. Wolfe gave insight into her thinking in a form e-mail she sent to a number of correspondents. We reprinted that here. She said she was following church guidance in invoking a morals clause in teaching contracts.

Students plan a demonstration in support of McCullough. The  Human Rights Campaign, which broke news of the firing, plans a news conference Tuesday in Little Rock next week. None of this will alter the outcome. The Catholic Church won't yield. The school can't, really.  And McCullough told me  Thursday night she couldn't return to such an environment even if it were possible.

To borrow a cliche, it is important for consciousness raising. A teaching moment. Some 16,000 people have signed a petition. Two good and respected people who love each other have provided two more human faces in the march toward equality and dignity for all. Such people's public witness explains the proliferation of happy progress elsewhere, if not yet in Arkansas. May their number increase. (Speaking of Arkansas, an article in the D-G today summarized defenses by the state and county lawyers to the lawsuit challenging state bans on same-sex marriage. They were as empty against the U.S. Constitution as past interposition arguments have been. "If our constitution says it, it's so. Federal law doesn't count.")

Tags: , , , , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (31)

Showing 1-31 of 31

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-31 of 31

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Mount St. Mary teacher fired for marrying her female partner

    A news release from the Human Rights Campaign, the country's leading advocate for LGBT equality, said the principal of Mount St. Mary Academy had told a long-time teacher at the school that she must resign or be fired because she married her lesbian partner in New Mexico this week.
    • Oct 17, 2013

People who saved…

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • ASU quarterback says someone killed his dog

    Arkansas State University Quarterback Fredi Knighten posted a photo recently on the Internet that said his dog had been stolen and killed, then returned to him. ASU thinks the episode is unrelated to the university or football.
  • Arkansas auditor finds friendlier court for $160 million U.S. savings bond claim

    State Auditor Andrea Lea this week found a friendlier court for her claim to take state possessionof perhaps $160 million in unclaimed U.S. savings bonds for the state's benefit.
  • Task force appears set to move forward with tweaked private option; battle looms over managed care

    The Health Reform Task Force had its penultimate meeting today; by law, it must issue a report with recommendations by the end of this year. All indications are that the task force will recommend continuing the private option with a few GOP-friendly tweaks. The governor will be negotiating with the federal government on just what shape the private option (perhaps with a snappy new name) will take in 2017 and beyond, once the state's current agreement with the feds comes to an end. The once hotly controversial issue has been fairly muted in task force discussions. The fireworks, instead, have come with how to handle the rest of the Medicaid program, with the state's consultant, the Stephen Group, suggesting that the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars by moving to managed care.
  • Tuesday's open line and news roundup

    Here's the open line and news roundup.

Most Recent Comments



© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation