Lesbian Teacher Tests Eastside Catholic Rules

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Photo: Steph Brusig/The Seattle Lesbian

The firing of Eastside Catholic High School’s vice principal for marrying another man has resonated with a lot of people, including ones that didn’t even know him.

A lesbian drama teacher wore her engagement ring to work at the high school in Sammamish, Washington, as a tribute to Mark Zmuda who was fired on December 20.

Though she doesn’t know Zmuda, she said she is willing to test the school’s hypocritical enforcement of its Catholic doctrine, which condemns homosexuality, sex outside of heterosexual marriage, and divorce among other things, according to Advocate.

“They’re not firing people who are straight that are doing things that aren’t Catholic,” Stephanie Merrow told KIRO, according to Seattle’s KING TV. “They’re just firing Mark.”

Because of the hypocrisy, Merrow plans to wear her new engagement ring to work.

“Either I’ll be fired, or the students will say, ‘Right on,’” Merrow told KIRO. “It doesn’t matter if I get fired. I want [students] to know that I think what they did was incredible and if anything changes, it’s going to be because of this next generation.”

Photo: Steph Brusig/The Seattle Lesbian

Photo: Steph Brusig/The Seattle Lesbian

Zmuda claims he was fired, though school officials say he resigned. Either way, students have planned sit-ins and protests demanding the vice principal come back.

Administrators say that Zmuda knew he violated his contract when he decided to marry his long-term partner last summer.

The school hosted a faculty meeting the day before school resumed last Monday to talk about the issue. A spokesperson told KING that the regardless of all the hype, the school is “not changing our position.” Because the school is private, it is excused from state nondiscrimination laws in which it is illegal to fire someone based on sexual orientation.

Parents of students were invited to attend a meeting to talk about the controversial issue, and were also informed if students continue to protest against Zmuda leaving they will be sent home.

However, according to Post-Intelligencer, students have already planned a massive rally on January 31 called “Z-Day.”

Though Gene Colin, the chair of Eastside Catholic’s board, abruptly resigned Monday because he “needed to take a break,” Sister Mary Tracy said that it wasn’t because of Zmuda, even though he was very involved in Zmuda’s ouster.