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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 31 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 05
Zmuda firing protest march: Olympia to Seattle
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Zmuda firing protest march: Olympia to Seattle

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

I'm going to march - for three days and nights - from Olympia to Seattle with co-organizer Mario Penalver, because we believe that love always wins. We believe that the Catholic Church - or any organized religion for that matter - should not be allowed to legally fire someone because they are married to someone of the same sex. While I am stopping short at calling for an end to organized religion and you won't hear me say that Catholics are bad people (all of that would be hateful and ignorant) I will say that our goal with this visibility march is to get people to realize that yes, there is a separation between Church and state and that the Church, as it stands right now, can fire an employee for having a same-sex marriage, but that doesn't make it okay. Not now. Not ever. It is always wrong to discriminate.

You've no doubt, by now, heard of Mark Zmuda, the Eastside Catholic high school teacher who got fired because he married another man last summer. Well, despite the amazing effort of a group of youth activists from the high school as well as neighboring Catholic schools, tons of media coverage from CNN to FOX cable news, he still is out of a job. A new foundation has been organized in his name and he is fighting the school's decision to fire him in court. The nun who fired him, Sister Mary Tracy, who seemed to become leftwing public enemy number one, resigned last week amidst the controversy and Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain is still dodging the media, spreading hate, and being his basically smug self daily, without a care in the world. Why is that? Because it is good to be king. Because he doesn't have to address us, the common people, unless he wants to. And he doesn't want to apparently.

Well, that is when things change. Mario and I recently met and talked about organizing an event that will allow people to join in, make a statement, and really send home the message that love always wins and that we aren't just going to go away.

On February 14, at 11 a.m., we will begin the three-day march from the steps at the Capitol Building. Along the way we will update social media about our experience and only rest when we need to. You are more than welcome to join us on any part of the walk for however little or as long as you'd like. We encourage it. Want to sponsor us? Contact me at socialoutreachseattle@gmail.com.

As we walk to Seattle, we will end the march at the office of the Archdiocese of Seattle and that is where all the rest of you married folks come into the picture. It is our hope that hundreds of same and opposite-sex married couples show up and greet us. The Catholic Church says they do not recognize same-sex marriages. Well, let's turn out a number of couples so big he won't have a choice but to admit that we are here, we do exist and we deserve the same rights and respect as everyone else.

More information will be made available in the coming days. For now, go to www.socialoutreachseattle.com

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