Former vice principal fired for gay marriage to file lawsuit

by: Amy Clancy Updated:


Mark Zmuda, the former Eastside Catholic High School vice principal fired for marrying his same-sex partner, is fighting back.

Zmuda's termination in December has garnered worldwide attention; students have held several protest and community members have joined in. Zmuda claims he was fired because he married his husband.

Zamuda, who plans to file a lawsuit in King County Superior Court, is expected to talk about the case at noon Friday at a downtown Seattle law office.

The complaint that’s expected to be filed claims that since Zmuda’s firing he’s "suffered economic and emotional harm and damages” and that he initially appeared to have support from Eastside Catholic until there was "intentional interference" by the Archdioces of Seattle, which is named as a defendant along with Eastside Catholic School and the Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop of Seattle. 

Supporters of Mark Zmuda weren’t surprised about the lawsuit.

“This is unfortunate. I don’t think there was any choice left, “ said Florence Colburn who has two children at the school.

Cory Sinser graduated in 2006.  He hoped the school would hire Zmuda back.  “School Administration wasn’t interested in having that conversation. This was the last resort,” said Sinser.

According to the complaint, "School Administrators told Mr. Zmuda at (a November) meeting that his marriage was 'none of their (ECS') business' and that Mr. Zmuda had 'full support'" from school administration.

Eight days later, on Nov. 19, 2013, "the School President informed Mr. Zmuda that his employment at ECS would be terminated unless he filed for divorce." Zmuda claims the school even offered to pay for a commitment ceremony if he divorced his husband.

Zmuda refused.

He was fired -- not because he was gay, he claims -- but because he was a married gay man. The lawsuit alleges "when the Archdiocese discovered that Mark Zmuda was married, it took intentional steps to cause Mr. Zmuda's termination at ECS."

No damage amount has been set. The archdiocese did not comment. The school is expected to file a response and a motion to dismiss the complaint.

Follow this link to read previos coverage of Zmuda's dismissal from Eastside Catholic.

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