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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 8 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 45
Seattle Archbishop says he stands by ECHS and the decision to fire Gay vice principal
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Seattle Archbishop says he stands by ECHS and the decision to fire Gay vice principal

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Archdiocese of Seattle said Wednesday he won't change his mind about rehiring a Gay vice principal who was fired from Eastside Catholic, a Seattle-area Catholic high school, after school officials learned he had married his same-sex partner.

Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea) joined a coalition of organizations, students, and alumni who believe that the Church should stop firing teachers based on sexual orientation, on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Archbishop Peter Sartain's office to turn in over 20,000 petition signatures asking for the same.

'Please listen to the students at Eastside Catholic and reinstate their vice principal. If Pope Francis says he won't judge Gays and Lesbians, you shouldn't be firing them,' the petition read.

The archdiocese responded with a statement saying they stand by the decision. It was the first time since Mr. Z's termination that the archdiocese spoke publicly about the school's decision.

'The recent personnel decision by the board and administrators of Eastside Catholic regarding Mr. Zmuda was made after a great deal of prayer and consultation,' Archbishop J. Peter Sartain wrote. 'In no way was their goal to be discriminatory to anyone, but to be faithful to their mission as a Catholic school.'

In the letter, Sartain explains that all employees of the private school are required to sign an agreement that their public behaviors would at all times be consistent with the values and teachings of the Catholic Church. The church does not recognize same-sex marriage, the letter pointed out.

'When Mr. Zmuda married his same-sex partner, the school administration was left with no acceptable alternative that would allow him to remain eligible for employment at Eastside Catholic School,' the letter to parents said.

Corey Sisner, a former Eastside Catholic student and organizer of the 'Keep Mr. Z' campaign, said the statement by the Archdiocese of Seattle was unexpected.

'We commend them for that,' he said. 'This is what we want. We want to ask questions and get answers. So this is, I think, the start of that dialogue that we've been asking for.'

Eastside Catholic students were in school where they presented their own petition to Principal Mary E. Tracy.

'The year is 2014: It's time to stop firing teachers for being gay!' Sinser, said as about 35 Catholic laypeople began a march on the chancery of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

'Please take this bold step and help stem the firings of gay Catholic educators: Be a shining light for your colleagues in other archdioceses. If you lead, they will follow,' Sinser urged Sartain.

A large-scale protest in support of the educator, fondly known as Mr. Z, dubbed 'Z-Day' is scheduled for January 31, in which we are asking supporters at the school and around the nation to wear orange to show support for Zmuda and call for change within the school's Catholic doctrine.

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