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Gay teacher says 'non-traditional' pregnancy led to Catholic high school firing

Gay teacher believes pregnancy led to her termination from Catholic high school
Gay teacher believes pregnancy led to her termination from Catholic high school
(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Barbara Webb, a 33-year-old former chemistry teacher, believes she was fired from a metro Detroit Catholic high school after she notified the school that she was pregnant. Webb is also gay and is in a same-sex marriage, which falls outside the teachings of the Catholic religion.

According to a report by the Associated Press Wednesday, Webb says she was fired shortly after notifying her employers at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills back in July. The termination letter she received didn’t give a reason, but Webb is sure she was let go after working nine years at the all-girls private school because her pregnancy fell outside “the Catholic way.”

Although the school knew she was gay and involved in a same-sex marriage, her contract with the school prohibits her from being public with anything that goes against the Catholic doctrine. Webb being pregnant would not be an issue, since she is married, but fact that her marriage is a same-sex marriage is what challenges the teachings of the doctrine.

Webb was offered an opportunity to resign with health insurance through the spring semester, but she declined and felt like a resignation would’ve been a lie to her. She wants to create change by standing up and letting “people know the truth.” She is not sure if she will pursue legal action against the school, but felt she couldn’t remain silent.

Webb wrote on her Facebook post, “My job can’t be saved but the torment that the poor LGBT students at Marian must be feeling (right let’s be real they exist too) the other LGBT staff (again let’s be real people) and those that are silenced by fear can be helped. Speak out against wherever you see it.”

The school did confirm the firing to the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday, but would not comment on the reasoning behind Webb’s termination due to confidentiality. Webb said she wasn’t asked how she got pregnant, but the fact that it was considered “non-traditional” is all that mattered to the school. Although pregnancy discrimination is illegal, the First Amendment freedom of religion could apply in this case if it went to court.

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