Politics

Catholic School to Mark Zmuda, Gay Teacher It Forced to Resign: Divorce Your Husband and We'll Rehire You

It's been more than three weeks since former Cardinal Gibbons teacher Mark Zmuda was fired from his vice principal position at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington, for marrying a man. But despite a lengthy winter break, support for Zmuda has not lost momentum.

Students continue to protest the decision to terminate Zmuda. More than a hundred gathered outside the Seattle archdiocese two weeks ago, and students are currently organizing a nationwide "Z-day" on January 31. Students will wear orange and use the hashtag #KeepMrZ2013 over social media to show their support for Zmuda.

See also: Students Revolt After Mark Zmuda, Former Cardinal Gibbons Teacher, Is Forced to Resign from Catholic School for Being Gay

A petition with nearly 20,000 signatures will be delivered to Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of the Archdiocese of Seattle on Wednesday. The petition reads, "Please listen to the students at Eastside Catholic and reinstate their vice principal. If Pope Francis says he won't judge gays and lesbians, you shouldn't be firing them."

But one of the more troubling pieces of information to come to light -- and perhaps the most paradoxical concept since low-fat ice cream -- is the last-minute deal Mark Zmuda was offered to keep his job. Eastside Catholic's president, Sister Mary Tracy, told Zmuda he could stay with the school if he divorced his husband.

"She said, 'If you got a divorce, you would probably be able to keep your job,'" Zmuda tells KING 5's Joyce Taylor. "And she said, 'If you did, then we can have a commitment ceremony with you and your partner, and the school would help pay for it.'"

Because the bible doesn't say anything about divorce, right? What's that, Matthew 19:6?

"Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

Shut up, Matthew 19:6! Why can't you be more like Malachi 2:16?

"'I hate divorce,' says the LORD God of Israel, 'and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,' says the LORD Almighty."

OK, real funny, Malachi 2:16. This is why no one's ever heard of you.

Sister Mary Tracy later told KING 5, "I suggested to dissolve the marriage to save his job. I was trying to hang onto him."

Either way, it doesn't look like this headache is going away any time soon for the Archdiocese of Seattle or Eastside Catholic.

But that doesn't mean things will be resolved. The Catholic Church has gotten pretty good at ignoring issues over the years. Lord knows it's had plenty of practice.



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Ryan Pfeffer is Miami New Times’ music editor. After earning a BS in editing, writing, and media from Florida State University, Ryan joined the New Times staff in November 2013 as a web editor, where he coined the phrase "pee-tweet" (to retweet someone while urinating). Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, he’s now neck-deep in bass and booty in the 305.
Contact: Ryan Pfeffer