Eastside students speak up for vice principal fired for same-sex marriage

SAMMAMISH -- Eastside students aren't giving up their fight for former vice principal Mark Zmuda, who lost his job because he married another man in violation of the Roman Catholic school's rules.

Seven students from Eastside Catholic High School met with the school’s president Monday morning in the hope of bringing change to the school’s stance on same-sex marriage.

But there weren’t any protests because the administration was threatening to kick students off campus and call their parents if they missed any classes.

School employees removed protest signs that were hanging on the fence outside of the school.

The protests started just before Christmas when hundreds of students took to the streets.  They were upset about the removal of vice principal and swim coach Zmuda.

Zmuda worked at the private school for more than a year, but his employment ended when administrators found out he had married a man.

In an interview with one of his students, Zmuda said school administrators told him that he could save his job by divorcing his husband – but that was something he wouldn’t do.

A video of the interview is available below:

The kids who got a chance to speak one-on-one with Eastside Catholic CEO and President Mary Tracy said the conversation was respectful. They also said Tracy regrets how Zmuda’s termination was handled.

“We appreciate her feelings towards the matter,” said senior Ian Edwards, who attended Monday’s meeting. “It’s comforting to know it wasn’t an easy issue for her, but we’re still pushing for a change in this kind of attitude from the Catholic Church of discrimination in the workplace.”

According to an email sent out to faculty, Eastside Catholic has already hired Zmuda’s replacement — it’s a man who has worked at the school in prior years.

Eastside Catholic students are planning another protest they call “Z” day on Jan. 31. That’s when supporters of Zmuda will all be wearing orange.

They’re hoping that message reaches the Roman Catholic Church and convinces the right people to change the church’s stance on same-sex marriage.