Margie Winters will be among those welcoming Pope Francis to The White House at a reception on Wednesday (23 September).
If she gets the ear of the Pope during the event on the South Lawn, she will have plenty to say about discrimination against LGBTI Catholics by the church in the US.
Winters, 50, was fired in June from Waldron Mercy Academy outside Philadelphia because she is married to a woman. She was the Catholic school’s director of religious education and had worked at the school for eight years.
Winters had been upfront with school administrators at the time of her hiring and was advised to keep a low profile which she says she did.
The firing happened because a parent complained directly to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which later spoke out in favor of the firing.
Winters has been married to wife Andrea since 2007. After the firing, she began to speak out not to win her job back but to raise awareness of the discrimination.
‘This decision to fire me is in contradiction with who we are as a church,’ Winters says in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign in advance of the Pope’s visit. ‘We need to stand up for what we believe in.
‘How doi we make these injustices right in our church and in our society as well?’
Winters was invited to the White House event by the HRC the largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the US.