BURIEN, Wash. — Students at Kennedy Catholic High School say two gay teachers were forced out of their jobs, prompting outrage and a show of force. Now the Archdiocese is on the record.
The controversy spilled into the streets and ended in protest outside Kennedy Catholic itself.
They walked into the brilliant sunshine, chanting in unison.
"We want change! We want change!"
Hundreds of Kennedy Catholic High School students put administrators, and indeed, the church on notice that they seek a different future.
"One where all are valued and appreciated for who they are,” said Justin Baker, a senior leader, to loud applause.
"We stand here because we love our school and we love our teachers," Angel John, Kennedy Catholic Student Body President, told her fellow students. "And this was an injustice we cannot tolerate."
"My name is Sean Nyberg and I was the one who proposed to Paul Danforth."
There was a thunderous ovation when English teacher Paul Danforth's fiancé took the podium
"I can't say a lot but I can share this,. Miss Beattie and Mister Danforth love you and they miss you," Nyberg told the students. "And they see you."
Danforth and soccer coach Michelle Beattie cleaned out their classrooms over the weekend, just days after they both resigned.
Tuesday morning, scores of people on both sides of the issue picketed outside the Archdiocese of Seattle. And for the first time, a church spokesman weighed in.
"They resigned voluntarily," said Greg Magnoni, of Magnoni Communications Strategies. "And because this is a personnel action, unfortunately there simply is not anything more that we can share at this point."
Danforth's fiancé says his very public marriage proposal on November 1st, and that of Beattie's, were the catalyst for the school to act.
“I believe in their (administrators') statement that they read to the faculty,” said Nyberg, his voice breaking." Because they were honest about their same sex engagement, they were no longer able to work at Kennedy."
He paused when he was asked if he regrets proposing to Danforth. Then he said, "I have no regrets. But I will say, though, it does cross my mind sometimes if I hadn't asked him to marry me, none of this would have happened."
A parent leader says they want the contract the teachers signed changed, and to have Danforth and Beattie reinstated.
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