Last week students at a Seattle-area Catholic high school
staged a sit-in to protest the removal of their school’s vice principal, who
the school says violated his employment contract by marrying another man over
Alumni, students and parents from a
Seattle Catholic school are fighting to have a revered vice principal
reinstated, after school officials discovered his marriage to another man.
of Mark Zmuda vowed to pull funds from Eastside Catholic High School, after the
school sent out a letter announcing he had resigned and calling his marriage a
violation of his contract, which requires a strict adherence to a Catholic
on you!" wrote a passionate alumnus on the Eastside Catholic High School
Alumni Facebook page in response to the school's letter.
only is this type of homophobic behavior completely antiquated, it sets a
horrible example for all students present and past of tolerance and
acceptance," Jessica Lesser from the class of 1994 wrote. "Our own
pope has a very different message for our Church: 'If someone is gay and seeks
the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?' - Pope Francis."
Colburn, whose son -- who she called "politically astute" --
instigated the school-wide rally protesting Zmuda's dismissal, has retracted
contributions to the school and says her daughter, a sophomore, is questioning
whether she wants to enroll there next year.
have been at the school for seven years, and by far [Mark] is the best
administrator that I've ever seen there," Colburn told ABC News. "As
a mentor, and a coach, and a colleague, and a human being, there's not a better
person. I think that's why uproar was so fast and furious. There's nothing
anyone can reproach this man."
says many of the families have chosen to enroll their kids in the 600-student
Catholic high school for the academics, not necessarily for the religious
question now is what if there's a teacher in our school or any Catholic school
that's been divorced, should we fire them?" Colburn said. "Should we
fire teachers that take the pill? We can go down the list of the rules of
to the Seattle Times, Zmuda, who
coached the high school’s swim team in addition to serving as vice principal, worked
at Eastside Catholic for about a year and a half before his departure. While it
is unclear if Zmuda’s contract was terminated, as the letter to parents last
week stated, or if he resigned his position, as the school’s attorney, Mike
Patterson, later claimed, it is clear that the Archdiocese of Seattle was
involved in the deliberative process over his employment at Eastside Catholic:
Catholic president Sister Mary Tracy said she discussed Zmuda’s case in person
with Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain within the last two weeks and they had
what she described as a collaborative conversation.
didn’t give her an explicit order to fire Zmuda, Tracy said. Rather, “We were
directed to comply with the teachings of the church.”
Archdiocese works through me as the head of the school,” Tracy said. “It was
clear that this is the teaching of the church. I know what we need to do.”
said he and Tracy met with Zmuda in a cordial meeting on Tuesday and everyone
understood that Zmuda could no longer work at Eastside Catholic.
was just one of those situations where he knew ... that he needed to comport
with the [teachings] of the church, and his same-sex marriage was not
comporting with that,” Patterson said.
said Zmuda’s same-sex marriage, not the fact that he is gay, is the reason he
cannot work for the school.
a great administrator,” Patterson said.
fully support him. We’re going to give him glowing reference letters, all that
sort of thing. But Eastside Catholic doesn’t have the power to change that
law,” Patterson said, referring to church teachings.