Education
KIRO screenshot KIRO screenshot  

Student rallies continue for Catholic high school principal fired over gay marriage

Students and, apparently, other concerned citizens held yet another rally on Saturday in support of Mark Zmuda, a gay vice principal and swim coach at Eastside Catholic High School in the suburbs of Seattle, Wash. who was sacked — or maybe resigned — late last month after school officials discovered that he had married his boyfriend.

Eastside Catholic fired Zmuda, 38, because his same-sex marriage violates church doctrine as well as an employment contract the popular school administrator agreed to abide by. He got married about five months ago.

The personnel decision has become a polarizing one for people who want the Catholic Church to start accepting gay marriage.

About 80 people showed up at Saturday’s demonstration in front of the local archdiocese’s headquarters in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, reports The Seattle Times.

“We want to make sure that no more teachers get fired from their job because they got married,” event co-organizer Shaun Knittel told the gathered crowd.

Demonstrators held signs and chanted slogans, of course. The slogans included “Keep Mr. Z,” “God is Love” and “Love always wins.”

Neither Zmuda nor anyone from the archdiocese showed up at the latest protest.

In a video released recently, Zmuda said school officials told him he could keep his job if he got a divorce, the Times notes.

“Apparently the fact that I have a same-sex partner and (am) having a same-sex marriage . . . they are against that,” the principal at a Catholic school said during an interview conducted by a former student, Catrina Crittenden.

“I also thought another teaching they were against was divorce,” he added. “I’m a little shocked that was even on the table to have me keep my job. They also offered for me to have a commitment ceremony if I were willing to get a divorce.”

Zmuda also maintained that he did not quit his job but was instead terminated. School officials insist that he quit.

In a prior statement to local CBS affiliate KIRO, an attorney for Eastside Catholic said same-sex marriage “is something that is clear at every level of the Catholic Church from the Archdiocese level up to the Pope.”

Students from Eastside Catholic and some other local Catholic schools have been persistently protesting the termination of Zmuda and the church’s position on gay marriage ever since Zmuda was fired. There have been other rallies. There have been sit-ins.

“Our fight for change has gone from a local new story to a national sensation,” junior Nicole Costello told The Daily Caller. “We hope to not only get Mr. Zmuda his job back, but to make a positive change on a much larger scale.”

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