Nun To Fired Gay Educator: Get A Divorce And Keep Your Job

Monday Jan 6, 2014
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A crowd of nearly 30 students and supporters rally recently for former Eastside Catholic Vice Principal Mark Zmuda, who left his position after officials with the archdiocese discovered that he was in a same-sex marriage.
A crowd of nearly 30 students and supporters rally recently for former Eastside Catholic Vice Principal Mark Zmuda, who left his position after officials with the archdiocese discovered that he was in a same-sex marriage.  (Source:AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Jordan Stead)

SEATTLE - A former vice principal at a Catholic school said he was fired for marrying his male partner and that the school’s leader suggested he could get a divorce to keep the job.

Mark Zmuda said in a YouTube video posted on Saturday that he did not resign his position, as officials at Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish have reported.

He said he was terminated and the head of the school, Sister Mary Tracy, even suggested that he could get a divorce and keep his job.

"It was a piece of paper, they said, that was the reason that I was being let go," Zmuda said in the video, an interview conducted by one of his former students. He said he was shocked that divorce was an option on the table and rejected the idea.

A message left by The Associated Press at a phone number listed for Zmuda’s husband was not immediately returned. Tracy also didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

School attorney Mike Patterson recalled having two conversations with Zmuda in December, one in a meeting and one by phone. He said Zmuda confirmed in both conversations that he was resigning from the job, not being fired.

Patterson said the divorce suggestion from Tracy was a hypothetical that was never seriously explored.

"I think it was asked in a hypothetical fashion out of frustration more than anything else," Patterson said.

Patterson said Zmuda was resigning because he understood his contractual obligations, which include following church teachings against gay marriage. He said Zmuda, who is Catholic, was offered a positive reference letter and help finding another job.

Eastside Catholic has about 900 students, mostly in high school. Many of them have rallied in support of Zmuda and protested his departure. Dozens rallied on Saturday in front of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle.

Zmuda, who is from Virginia Beach, Va., said the support he’s received has been overwhelming. He praised the students for leading efforts on social media and within the school to make their voices heard.

"They’re the ones really making and starting this change," Zmuda said.

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Comments

  • Wayne M., 2014-01-06 20:15:57

    This nun, who no doubt will pontificate to no end on the sanctity of marriage and the evils of divorce, no wants a loving company to break up their marriage. It seems too me that this is the last school where anyone should be sending their children.


  • Jay, 2014-01-06 20:23:54

    Be afraid, be very afraid because Liz the carpetbagger will soon be moving to another state looking for an easy Senate seat and that state could be yours!


  • Anonymous, 2014-01-07 09:21:44

    Wouldn’t he have to get an annulment since catholics don’t sanction divorve?


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