Seattle Archdiocese responds to gay vice principal protest

by: Maria Guerrero Updated:

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SEATTLE - Chanting “love always wins,” a group of demonstrators marched to the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese Wednesday in support of fired gay Vice Principal Mark Zmuda.

When the group arrived, they were surprised the church sent someone out to answer them.

The group turned over almost 21,000 online signatures from around the world.

In part, the petition read: "Please listen to the students at Eastside Catholic and reinstate their vice principal."

 "I've been a Catholic all my life and it's not right," said one demonstrator.

The group rounded the corner in unison, but only three people handed over the petition inside.  A church representative then emerged.

 "We were happy to receive the petition and I'll definitely present it to the archbishop,” said archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni.

 Magnoni revealed that the private school asked Zmuda to submit his resignation in December after learning he married his male partner.

 "The school made its decision after a period of reflection, period of consultation, and having made that decision, the archdiocese supports them in that decision," said Magnoni.

 The fired-up crowd wasn’t having it, and asked: What would Christ think?

 “Would he believe the discrimination is justified?” yelled one woman in the crowd.

“The school, when it made its decision, had no intention to be discriminatory toward anyone," responded Magnoni.

 The archdiocese says it will now consider whether to meet with Eastside Catholic students.

The archdiocese did not want to comment on Stephanie Merrow, a part-time musical coach at Eastside Catholic, who feared losing her job after announcing her engagement to her same-sex partner after Zmuda was fired.

The school didn't fire her, but instead made her an independent contractor.

The archdiocese says both decisions were made by the school.