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US: Catholic school students protest gay vice-principal’s resignation

Mark Zmuda's marriage to male partner violates contract to adhere to Catholic teachings

Students at a Catholic school in Washington State protest in support of their vice-principal, who was asked to resign after he married his male partner. Credit: Screen shot from komonews.com

Students at a Washington State Catholic high school went on the march after their vice-principal was reportedly asked to resign because he had married his male partner, The Seattle Times reports

According to the report, the students, who walked out or did not show up to class, were informed that the Archdiocese of Seattle made the decision to dismiss Mark Zmuda, who at one point addressed the protesting students, saying he appreciated what they were doing. Students chanted "Keep Mr Z, Keep Mr Z." They reportedly intend to gather signatures from within the diocese and plan to submit them in the hope that they could get Zmuda reinstated, the Times adds. 

An Eastside school official noted that teachers agree to adhere to Catholic doctrine, which includes opposition to same-sex marriage.

But at least one student, who referred to the new pope's more conciliatory language regarding gay people, is quoted as saying that being Catholic "doesn't mean I need to believe every rule the Church has."

During last year's American election, Washington State was one of three states that voted in favour of gay marriage, while Minnesota voters gave a thumbs-down to an amendment defining marriage as being solely between a man and a woman.

Recently, an American Catholic newspaper criticized New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan's view that the church has been "out-marketed" on the gay marriage issue, saying that the church has failed to listen to its flock.

"The church's teaching on sexuality is unpersuasive because the church advances teachings that actually reduce human sexuality and sexual activity to its most banal, utilitarian and mechanistic level, detaching it from the deepest possibilities of genuine human intimacy," the National Catholic Reporter stated in a Dec 16 editorial.

Noting that Dolan has signalled his intention to continue opposing gay marriage, the Reporter suggests that the cardinal meet with, and "really listen" to, gay Catholics and their parents.