Gay Educator Says Catholic School Wouldn't Have Fired Him If He Divorced His Partner (Video)
Mark Zmuda claims that he was "terminated" by the Eastside Catholic school in Sammamish, Wash. when school officials learned he married his male partner.
According to the Seattle Times, Zmudu told one of his former students in an interview (video below) that he was informed by the school’s president, Sister Mary Tracy, that he could have kept his vice principal position if he had agreed to a divorce.
“I thought... they were against was also divorce,” said Zmuda. “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.”
However, school attorney Mike Patterson claims that Zmuda offered to resign after a meeting in December 2013 with Sister Mary Tracy. Patterson said the divorce idea was “purely hypothetical.”
Zmuda’s former students have created a Facebook page to support him. Sister Tracy has agreed to meet with students to discuss the former vice principal.
The school is now facing a similar situation again after another employee, Stephanie Merrow, recently announced that she became engaged to her female partner.
Merrow is contracted to teach choreography by the school and is not a full-time employee.
“I’ve been battling this,” Merrow told KIRO Radio. “When this happened with Mark [Zmuda], somebody who works at the school called me and said, ‘I would understand if you want to quit.’”
Merrow said that Zmuda's coming out and the students' support of him inspired her to do the same.
The part-time teacher stated that the school paperwork she signed was not as extensive as Zmuda's contract.
"I'm not Catholic, I told them I wasn't Catholic," added Merrow. "But it didn't say anything about being gay."
The Vatican still opposes homosexuality, gay marriage and civil unions, noted the National Catholic Reporter.