Nigel Campbell's picture

Catholic School Students Stage Huge Sit-In After Vice Principal Is Fired For Marrying His Partner

Following the news that Eastside Catholic High School Vice Principal Mark Zmuda had been fired after marrying his boyfriend, 150 students staged a sit-in at the Seattle school.

Through the use of text and social media they spread the word to students at local schools who also came together to show their support.


Their message also reached the local media, who spoke to the students as they took to the streets in support of Zmuda and gay rights. 

The display of support for Zmuda continued with students from other schools raising their voices:

The Seattle Times spoke with Eastside Catholic students:

“Just because I’m Catholic doesn’t mean I need to believe every rule the Church has,” freshman Sophia Cerino said. “We think the rule over gay marriage is totally unfair. Everyone seems to think the same thing – that we should all be treated equal.”


Cerino said Zmuda, who was also the high school swim coach, was a kind person who cared about the students.

While students were protesting on the street, she said, Zmuda came out to talk to them about what had happened. “He told us he had gotten fired because he is gay and married. He told us to grow up, get a job and find true love. He was crying and told us what we were doing meant a lot to him.”

The school currently has no plans to re-hire Vice Principal Zmuda. A spokesman for Eastside Catholic explains:

" entering into a same-sex marriage, Zmuda violated teachings of the church, which he had agreed to follow.

Teachers at Catholic schools, Patterson said, sign contracts that they will abide by the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which opposes and forbids same-sex marriage.

“We just learned about it,” Patterson said of Zmuda’s marriage. “He understood he could no longer be employed there because of his current circumstances.”


Apparently the students disagree and we're inspired by the efforts of students from all over Seattle to promote change and acceptance.

Image Source (H/T: BuzzFeed)



Catholics are a bunch of weird asses to begin with that rub on their beads and such.

Who cares!

I'm catholic and you know what, gay rights should be legal. What these kids are doing is amazing. The bible also says we cannot pierce or tattoo out body, have round hair cuts, or get a divorce. How many Catholics do you know have/done one of the following. I thought the main purpose of God was to spread Gods word and love. Who cares what someone does on their personal time, no catholic is perfect. Shot I missed church last week, I guess I will be shunned. Way to go kids, stand up for what's right!

I truly respect your views and your focus on the beautiful aspects of your religion. Unfortunately not many people can see that the Christian and catholic religions are about love and acceptance not hate and closed minds. Thank you to you, and to these students, for standing up for what is right and seeing the need for love over hate. 

The Catholic Church does not hand will never know what it's speaking about when it comes to Gay issues. The Church can't keep it's own house in order let alone pontificate to the world what it should and should not do. As for the Bible It's a good read and that is as far as it should go, it is useless a a guide to how to live your live, it's out dated wrote by individuals that did not know the meaning of evolution let alone how some of the made up stories would affect generations to come   

I am a Catholic and I agree with the majority of things the Church teaches, but I’m also someone with an open mind and I like to think I am compassionate. So I can see both sides of this story. On the one hand, we are not talking about an average Catholic in the pews or did not have a choice regarding his employment. He decided to be an educator and to be the vice principal of a Catholic school. He is in a position of leadership in a Catholic school which makes him in the Church’s eyes a representative of the Church and therefore should buy the whole package, or at least the most important teachings of the Church. On the other hand, he appears to be a gifted and dedicated educator and education as a means to make our world a better place is a very strong Catholic value. All you need to do is look at how many significant leaders and movers and shakers in society were educated in Catholic schools. My feeling, however, is that whether or not his dismissal was justified, it will be counterproductive and will not get kids to accept Church teaching.

Also, just because Pope Francis is more tolerant in his language, it does not mean he is going to change Church teachings. He could, no one expected Vatican II to be so sweeping, but it’s unlikely.

Then explain how members of the Jewish faith are allowed to be teachers or administrators at catholic schools. Do they buy the whole package and represent the church?

In most situations, administrators of Catholic Schools are supposed to be Catholic and they did sign contracts which state they are living in accord with Catholic teachings. Regarding non-Catholics teaching in a Catholic school, they are not bound to sign a contract saying they are living in accordance with the Catholic faith though it is often worded that they are living according to the teachings of their faith traditions. However, they usually are teachers of subjects other than religion and are usually not administrators though this can vary depending on the diocese that runs the school. Private Catholic high schools have a bit more flexibility in this area since they are ruin by orders (Franciscan, Dominican, Jesuit, etc.) and managed by school boards as opposed to the school which I believe is diocesan and subject to the authority of the local bishop.

Whether or not the Catholic Church should change its teachings or ignore the fact he is married to his partner is a different issue than whether a person should or should not be employed by an institution of they violate the contract they voluntarily signed.

This is amazing!! I am so proud of ever kid that has taken part in this, love is love!!

One of the main thing I remember of the many catholic masses I had to attend to when I was young is the word "love".

No one chose who they'll be in love with. Loving someone and being love back is the most beautiful thing that can happen to someone. Love is not specific to a gender, it's specific to a human being.  It's ridiculous to fire someone based on their love life pretending "teaching of the church". Church taught me to love all human beings on this planet. They love each other, they are not doing anything wrong. Way to go kids! You making me feel like there is a better future for us than I thought!

"Just because im catholic doesnt mean i cant think for myself?"
But...doesnt it?
I mean good for you. But you either believe the crazy nonsense or you dont.
You cant be logical and devoted religious without question.

WOW... where to start, I will make it brief, Permalink you are right on the money.... if only their we're more common sense...out there.. but it's all most impossible to find these days.

Colin Stewart, you are so far from the truth, it shows you know knowing what so ever about practicing the Catholic faith. Try to educate yourself before you state the "untruth"

We, as adults, have so many negative things to say about the younger generation; "They have no respect.", "They don't listen.", etc. But, they are a lot more mature and open minded than any of us at that age.

It's a big and a important step for a best futur. Thank you! 

If you don't agree with the Catholic faith and its beliefs then don't attend Catholic Church or their schools. When he signed up for the job he knew the beliefs / rules and because he broke them he can no longer be president. They are not saying he was a bad person they are saying he is not suited to be a president of a Catholic school. 

Your illiteracy is awe-inspiring. Perhaps your political agenda is showing through your unintentional word choice. As a school administrator (a vice principal, not a PRESIDENT), he worked to ensure his school met the criteria to be a certified school so that the students would be allowed to have a viable high school diploma. If the students are rallying because of his situation, what does it say about the faux catholic beliefs of the few people in charge of such a decision? Wouldn't the children be more consistent with the views of Pope Francis than with the people who chose to remove him from that position? Maybe they should be careful about stating who would be unsuitable to serve an administrative position at a school, because it may make a greater case for him as a litigant. On an indirectly related point to this story, church officials are more likely than any other member of the general population to sexually abuse children, so a gay male (meaning he is attracted to adult men, and moreover is married to a man) is actually much less of a threat to the children than anyone else up there. So eat on that cracker, putain de salope de la croix.

Obviously, the love being taught by The Holy Father has not reached many of the bigoted parishes/schools in the American Dioceses.  WAY TO GO KIDS FOR STANDING BEHIND YOUR PRINCIPAL!!

If you are Catholic, you can swear, steal, fight, be an adulterer, rape, murder etc and all you need to do is pop along to confession, repent your sins and your done, all excused and off you go to do some more. But if you love your fellow man, you are condemned for life, hell will open and swallow you whole, you can never be forgiven and worse - it will topple the very church you pray at and destroy the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.

Catholics, you should be disgraced and appalled by your church ethics, your ethics and hold your head in shame, be imprisoned for being sexist. Oh, sorry, you've probably done that but gone to confession and been forgiven. 

The thoughts of this school aren't the thoughts of all Catholics, the students involved are Catholic and standing up for whats right. There are people who live by old dogma and use it to front their personal grievances, a persons issue with homosexuality is rarely just due to someones religion, it's exacerbated by their fundamental mal adjustment to a modern, tolerant world. I know plenty of Catholics who are nice, loving and tolerant people, don't be so quick to point the finger and tar everyone with the same brush. Every religion on earth has hang ups, it's more a political tool used to maintain it's own power by victimising others as wrong doers, tell us not to judge but secretly rallying people in judgment.

I totally understand that but if a Catholic believer doesn't support the beliefs of the Catholic church in this matter and doesn't do anything about it then they are helping propagate this issue. It will take these catholics to stand out against the Catholic Church for its bigotry to help make changes. It is of no help to be against the Church for this but do nothing about it and still support this bigoted institution.

It is the Catholic church that is at fault with it's beliefs and intolerance of course BUT it's followers also should shoulder responsibility for continuing to support and allow the Catholic Church to preach such discrimination and intolerance. Until these people take action to push for these changes, the Catholic Church will continue to take ridiculous, outdated, immoral and illegal stances which they get away with under the disguise of religion.

Sorry, I meant to add that as per my argument, it is people like these students that are standing up against the Church to make a difference that does show that times are changing and they are wonderful people for doing this.

If only more would.

I would be ashamed to be Catholic if I were.

There is hope for the next generation. Thank goodness!

I'm sure he's a good man just cause he's gay shouldn't have the right to judge him I am gay also and I do believe in gay rights and as long as he's happy then that's all that matters. stop hate. ♥

Keep up the good work and fight the good fight. Some very compassioate young people.

Get a life people.  He just got married to someone he loves, not killing someone.  Apparently, the church can forgive gangsters for adultery, killing, theft, etc and all up in arms against two consenting adult entering a life of love.  A bunch of bullies.  

How about all the priests that molested the little altar boys. That was illegal. Gay marriage is with consenting adults and in some states legal. 

The church was against slavery, women's rights, and interracial marriage from the very beginning. No one should forget that. Love will ALWAYS conquer ignorance, no matter where it decides to show itself. 

If the school wants to use the excuse that " entering into a same-sex marriage, Zmuda violated teachings of the church, which he had agreed to follow." then they should have fired him as soon as he admitted he was gay. The church teaches that being gay is a sin.

And no I do not agree with the church, Mr. Zmuda should be allowed to love and marry whoever he chooses.

Actually, being gay is not a sin. Performing homosexual acts (as well as most heterosexual acts outside of one-man-one-woman marriage) are sins.

Actually, the Pope still continues to fire priests who speak out in favour of same-sex marriage.

Actually the Pope just fired someone from the church because of his actions against same-sex marriage and abortion. Educate yourself before you speak out! I am Catholic, I am Gay and I am proud of both! Changes are being made within the church because of the beliefs and morals of our current Pope.

‘If someone is gay, and he searches for the Lord, and he has good will, who am I to judge?’

- pope francis

Ask their boss, the pope, if he should be fired

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