Previous contracts between the archdiocese and the 2,200 teachers in its schools have said they must not oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church. But the newest contract is longer and much more detailed.
Among other things, it bars teachers from homosexual lifestyles and publicly supporting gays.
Shumate, who has taught in Catholic schools for 14 years, told the Cincinnati Enquirer she has decided she cannot sign it. Her son, Zachery,22, told her several years ago that he is gay.
"In my eyes there is nothing wrong with my son. This is what God gave me and what God created and someone I should never be asked to not support," she said. "If my son were to say to me, 'will you go somewhere with me that is supported or run by gays and lesbians,' I would have to tell him no, according to that contract. And if my picture was taken, what would happen?"
Shumate is believed to be the first teacher to take this kind of stand.
Voice of the Faithful, an organization calling for more transparency in the church in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal, has put up billboards criticizing the contract.
Church officials say the archdiocese is not asking for anything in the 2014-2015 contract that was not demanded of teachers in previous years. Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said opponents of the contract are misreading it.
"First of all, nobody who signed this year's contract or last year's contract should hesitate to sign the 2014-2015 agreement. All say the same thing – that the teacher will not publicly act or speak against the teachings of the Catholic Church," he said.
Zachery Shumate said his mother's action "speaks volumes about the kind of person she is."
"It's hard to put into words how proud I am of her," he said.