INDIANAPOLIS (WAVE) - A guidance counselor at a private Catholic school in Indianapolis may lose her job because her marriage to a woman was revealed to school officials.
Shelly Fitzgerald is on administrative leave from her job at Roncalli High School. In a meeting with her principal on Friday, she said she was asked to resign immediately, end her marriage, or stay quiet until the end of the year when her contract would not be renewed.
She told NBC affiliate WTHR school leaders told her if she made a big deal out of it, she'd be fired.
Fitzgerald is a graduate of Roncalli and is a practicing Catholic.
She said she kept her personal life hidden for the 15 years she's worked at Roncalli over the fear of losing her job. Her relationship is not on social media.
Fitzgerald said a priest shared her marriage license with the school after a parishioner alerted the priest. It was then passed on to the Archbishop of Indianapolis and the superintendent.
Roncalli leaders have responded on Facebook, saying in part "the personal conduct of every teacher, guidance counselor and administrator and staff member, both at school and away from school, must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church."
Fitzgerald said she's been with her partner for 22 years. The two were married in 2014.
Now that it's in the open, she said she won't resign or stay quiet.
"I don't have any expectations except to be a catalyst for change and love," she told WTHR in an exclusive interview.
Monday, there was a protest at the school, showing support for Fitzgerald.
"At Roncalli, we teach them to stand up for people. We give them a voice. We teach them to be people who are advocates for other people," Fitzgerald said. "I have never been so proud of our students and faculty and staff and parents and people I don't even know who've reached out to me because it's important, and we taught them to use their voice and they are."
Fitzgerald has hired an attorney. But she said she hopes talking to the school will resolve the matter without a lawsuit.
"Pray for both sides because I know it's not easy for the people at Roncalli or at the archdiocese, as well," she said.
Roncalli's statement on Facebook can be read in full below: