Mindy: Hi, I am Mindy Beall.
Jimmie: I’m Jimmie Beall. When I first met her, her smile lit up the whole place.
Mindy: She was very friendly, very nice and outgoing and we hit it off right away. The next logical step was to ask her to marry me.
Mindy: So, every Valentine’s Day, we would go down to the courthouse and we would apply for a marriage license...
Jimmie: ...knowing we wouldn’t get one. In fact, by year three and four, they came to expect us, you know?
Mindy: “Hi Jimmie and Mindy, we’re so glad to see you - good to see you again, we’re sorry we can’t give you a license, but we’re really glad that you’re here!”
Jimmie: And then when the ruling came down, we were the first ones to get a marriage license in the county.
I became a teacher because I came from five generations of teachers.
The Friday before spring break, the principle called me into the office, and he told me that I wouldn’t have a job for the next school year. And I thought, ‘what do you mean?’ They had just offered me a contract, and I had stellar evaluations.
There were questions about my sexual orientation.
I felt like someone had just slapped me in the face. I just was devastated. Losing my job was the bottom falling out of my world, and I kept thinking, ‘How do I know I’m not going to lose my home next? How do I know that I’m not going to lose my children next?’
If I have no protection because they think I might be gay? Who’s safe?
We love all of Ohio.
Mindy: And that was one of the reasons why we didn’t want to go somewhere else to get married. Our kids are here, our family’s here. And while we may have won have marriage equality, we haven’t won overall equality.
Jimmie: Because there aren’t protections, you can still be fired.
Imagine being unexpectedly fired from your job despite having outstanding performance reviews and accolades. Imagine the frustration, sadness, confusion, and fear you’d feel after losing your position, just because of who you love. For longtime teacher Jimmie, she doesn’t have to imagine it. She actually had to live it.
Jimmie and Mindy’s wedding day was nothing short of a fairy-tale. It was Valentine’s Day 2016. Their wedding photos only begin to capture the utter joy. But their road to this happy moment hadn’t been easy.
Some years before their big day, Jimmie, Mindy, and their two children were living in London, Ohio. Jimmie was working as a teacher with stellar performance evaluations and was loved by her students and superiors. In her last year working for a school that she loved, Jimmie received yet another excellent performance evaluation and was offered a written contract to teach for the following year. She couldn’t have been more thrilled.
But then, two days later, she was unexpectedly let go from her job.
At the time, Jimmie was told that it was because they didn’t need her as a teacher. This was confusing, because she taught history (a subject that wasn’t at risk of being cut) and the school district was actually growing and expanding. Jimmie was later told that she had actually been fired because her superiors suspected that she is a lesbian1.
Jimmie was shocked to learn that she didn’t have any protections from this type of discrimination in the state of Ohio—one of the 31 states where it’s legal to discriminate against LGBT2 people.
She was heartbroken and scared. Not only did she lose a job she loved and was very good at,but she had to quickly find a new job because she had a family and two children to support.
It’s not right for...the people of this great state that we call home.
In Jimmie’s words: “This is not right. It’s not right that I was fired in 2003 and here we are 14 years later, and I could still be fired today for the very same reason. It’s not right that in those 14 years, I have listened to the heartbreaking stories of others who found themselves in similar situations—fired from jobs they love in Ohio, the place they call home—just for being gay. It’s not right for us, for our families, for our community or for the people of this great state that we call home.”
Once marriage equality passed in 2015, Jimmie and Mindy were the first same-sex couple to marry in their county. It isn’t lost on them or their close friends that, despite their legal marriage, they could still be fired in Ohio just because of who they love.
Like Jimmie and Mindy, millions of Americans are denied housing, employment, and services because of who they are. Because in 31 states in this country, discrimination against LGBT people is still legal.
Ohio has passed 4 laws that actively harm LGBT people.Learn more
Can be fired or denied a promotion
Can be evicted from their homes or denied housing
Can be denied service at public establishments, denied medical treatment, or even kicked out of restaurants or businesses
Ohio’s total population
Total LGBT population
Of LGBT population raising children