State Rep. fired by employer excited about Supreme Court ruling on LGBT protections from job discrimination

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT people from job discrimination.

The justices decided in two cases that a key provision of the 1964 Act, which partly bars discrimination based on sex, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.

This ruling allows LGBT people to sue for workplace bias.

A state representative found herself jobless after marrying her life partner in 2013.

For St. Rep. Tippi McCullough (D-Little Rock), this ruling is personal, and while Monday’s decision won’t change the fact that she was discriminated against and lost her job, she says this is a big step for the LGBTQ community.

“It just shows the progress we are making and continue to make,” McCullough says.

It’s a feeling of excitement for McCullough after a 6-3 vote by the Supreme Court ruled that a landmark Civil Rights Law will now protect the LGBTQ community from workplace discrimination.

“I was devastated,” says McCullough. “Lost my health insurance, lost my salary, lost my retirement, lost friends, lost my job, lost my identity.”

McCullough was fired from her longtime teaching job at Mount Saint Mary Academy in 2013 after marrying her life partner.

The Supreme Court decision will extend protections to millions of workers nationwide.

The Trump administration argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation. The ruling Monday disagrees with that.

“It’s pretty amazing because this would have protected my job, and there is so many other people that out there that have been fired and still would be fired, so it’s an amazing day,” McCullough says.

McCullough’s former employer gave us a statement saying:

“All school employees are required to support the mission of the school and lead a life consistent with the Catholic Church’s social and moral teachings. A public lifestyle or personal conduct that is contrary to this will lead to termination.”

Statement from Mount Saint Mary Academy

As for McCullough, she said this ruling is just a start.

“I still hope that not only jobs, but we also need housing protections,” says McCullough. “So I hope this is once more from marriage to this to housing. I hope the path continues.”

The ruling did not address how it would impact sports, college housing, religious employers, health care or free speech. That will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Rep. McCullough also joined us on our digital program Newsfeed Now. See the full interview below.

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