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Catholic high school students protest to support gay teacher who was dismissed from job

Catholic high school students protest to support gay teacher who was dismissed from job

Students at a US high school in the state of Washington staged a sit-in after finding out a gay teacher had been fired for marrying his partner.

Vice principal and swim coach Mark Zmuda worked for Eastside Catholic High School for approximately a year and a half.

According to lawyer for the Archdiocese of Seattle and Eastside Catholic the process to terminate Zmuda began about two weeks ago.

‘We became aware of his same-sex marriage through some other employees at the school who indicated that he had related that to them,’ Mike Patterson said to the Seattle Times.

The decision was announced at a regular faculty meeting this past Thursday (19 December). Word spread among  students and a sit-in was formed in the school’s common area.

‘The students were pretty upset about that so we all came together and rebelled against it,’ 18-year-old senior Christian Leider said to the newspaper. ‘Once one person found out it went on Twitter and then everyone found out.’

The protest moved to the outside of the school building, where Zmuda spoke. According to GLAAD, the teacher officially came out.

‘I think a lot of you guys are raised in a generation that is more open and acceptable to things that are legal now in the State of Washington. But, I just want you to know that my personal life is a small part of who I am,’ Zmuda said.

Marriage equality become legal in the western state last year after a ballot referendum.

According to GLAAD, when news of the firing spread other local Catholic high schools joined the Eastside students in solidarity.

Patterson maintained the school is following the dictates of the Catholic Church, which is firmly against gay marriage.

‘We fully support him,’ Patterson said to the Seattle Times. ‘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,’ he continued, referring to church teachings.