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Eastside Catholic School President Resigns Following Outcry Over Firing of Gay Vice Principal: VIDEO

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Mary Tracy, the Eastside Catholic School president whose decision to dismiss her school’s gay vice principal for marrying his partner sparked widespread backlash from students and faculty, has resigned from her position at the Sammamish, Washington school. KING5 reports:

Sister Mary Tracy submitted her resignation to school trustees Sunday, effective immediately. In an email sent to parents and staff Tuesday night, the school said a search for her replacement will begin shortly.

"For Sister Mary it was a difficult but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is on a positive path forward," the email said.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 1.25.08 PMThe news was a welcome change for critic’s of the school’s decision to remove Vice Principal Mark Zmuda (pictured right), who lost his job when administrators learned he had married another man. Zmuda was told that he could keep his job if he dissolved his marriage, but refused the offer.

Zmuda’s termination was not well-received by the students and faculty at the school. Protests were organized on campus and a ‘Z Day’ protest event was planned for later this month. While there is no word yet on whether Zmuda will be reinstated to his position, supportive parents see Tracy's resignation as a positive first step.

"This opens the door for us being able to have an open communication with the board about other issues that need to be resolved," said Eastside Catholic parent Florence Colburn.

Colburn and more than twenty other parents met Tuesday night to discuss a petition for the community and for school board members, asking for changes beyond a new president.  That includes alterations to campus policy on who can teach, to Catholic law on gay marriage and for Zmuda to be reinstated.

"I don't know if fair is the right word," said Colburn of Sr. Tracy's resignation, "But it is the correct outcome.  There just have been too many misrepresentations."

Watch KING5's report on the resignation and other campus developments, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Why would someone go to a Catholic school and not follow Catholic law? They aren't forced. How hypocritical. The church us private and doesn't like gays or women. The sooner they realize that the sooner they can have a fuller and blessed life.

    Posted by: stevetalbert | Jan 22, 2014 8:21:25 PM

  2. @Stevetalbert: A logical enough point of view, from one limited perspective. Except that it doesn't apply to the students attending the school, whose parents made that choice.

    Their kids are growing up with different values, and Catholic law will have to evolve with them (or lose them). Society as a whole is shifting, and these old dinosaurs seem determined not to die, so they will end up evolving as well.

    I wouldn't want to belong to a social group that's trailing the mainstream, but it's nice to see signs that they are catching up.

    Posted by: HERMES | Jan 22, 2014 8:49:06 PM

  3. This isn't a sign the Catholic Church or this school is catching up. In fact, they said they will not allow Mark Zmuda have his job back, regardless of the protesting. This decision seems to be driven more by the Seattle archdiocese themselves so this is basically Gay vs Catholic Church again.

    I'm very proud of these kids. Their reaction doesn't surprise me--this is the home of Macklemore and they simply haven't grown up with institutionalized homophobia. Will be interesting to see what goes on from here at Eastside Catholic.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 22, 2014 9:19:26 PM

  4. OH MARY!

    Posted by: MarcosLB | Jan 22, 2014 9:28:56 PM

  5. "When a company makes a big mistake, the first one to go is the CEO"

    Oh how I wish I lived in that world.

    (By the way, the CEO in this case is the Pope ... Mary was the store manager, and the first one to go was her assistant manager)

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 22, 2014 9:39:33 PM

  6. More like Sister Mary Cluster_uck.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Jan 22, 2014 10:12:22 PM

  7. The public schools in Washington state are generally very good. There are also good secular private schools. There is no reason parents cannot pull their children out of the parochial school system if they want to.

    Posted by: Merv | Jan 22, 2014 11:18:50 PM

  8. You have it backwards, @SteveTalbert.

    Catholic schools need to realize that they will lose every generation to come if they continue to fire gay people for having families (meanwhile enabling the dysfunctional closet and the abuse that accompanies it); this is reality, like birth control in straight Catholics' lives. Their choice.

    As others have said, it's not the students or the teachers who are behind the firings--it's the out-of-touch, famililess hierarchy. Many Catholic colleges have open, married gay faculty and staff--time for other Catholic schools to catch up or self-destruct.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 22, 2014 11:31:03 PM

  9. If you don't like the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and its schools, then don't send your kids to a Roman Catholic school. How difficult is that to understand?

    I find it amazing how so many say, "Keep the church out of the state!" when it comes to the issue of marriage equality, but then turn around and try to bully the church into being something that it isn't.

    Posted by: Jon | Jan 22, 2014 11:48:02 PM

  10. Kyler, the plural of "critic" is "critics," not "critic's." Yes, grammar matters. And although I'm no fan of the Roman Catholic Church, it's not appropriate to refer to the school president as "Mary Tracy" at the start of the article. It's Sister Mary Tracy as you can see in the linked article.

    I'm very torn about all these stories of gay people being fired from teaching positions at Catholic schools. I think it's disgusting and of course the church's attitude toward us gays is medieval--I despise the church. But as STEVETALBERT points out they're private schools with their own rules and guidelines. It's great that the students and faculty supported this man and hopefully more will do so. But I don't get why any gay person would want to work at a Catholic school, and the church has every right to discriminate against gay people, as disgusting as that is.

    Posted by: Robert | Jan 23, 2014 2:20:54 AM

  11. Religion kills.

    Posted by: Geoff | Jan 23, 2014 3:16:37 AM

  12. I think fair is the correct word. She offered him his job back if he got divorced.

    "While there is no word yet on whether Zmuda will be reinstated to his position"

    No, reinstate him to her position.

    Posted by: TheSeer | Jan 23, 2014 3:55:26 AM

  13. First of all -- those who think a Gay person is foolish to work at a catholic school:
    A-- probably they are catholic
    B-- Gay teachers have always been there, it is the marriage thing that is frosting the bishops' nuts.

    WHY IS EVERYONE NOT PICKETING THE BISHOPS? The schools are not going to go against them. The catholic bishops started the petitions that resulted in the divisive and wasteful referendum, after the Legislature and Governor put equality through.


    Posted by: Bob K | Jan 23, 2014 4:42:04 AM

  14. Meanwhile, in Geneva, Two Vatican Leaders,Tomasi and Scicluna, were participating in a United Nations Hearing being called to account for the decades long epidemic of Child Abuse by Catholic Priests. While not forgetting, Abuse of Women both Nuns and Mothers of the children fathered by a Priest, Rape, & relative inappropriate actions. Pope Francis, spent the time with Cardinal Roger Mahoney, former head of the LA Archdiocese, and one of the church's most notorious enablers of violence against children by Catholic Priests.

    These Students Have It Right and More of the Same Demands for change from this 'Church' are long overdue!

    Posted by: RexT | Jan 23, 2014 6:56:02 AM

  15. F___ the Catholic Church

    Posted by: Tristram | Jan 23, 2014 7:34:32 AM

  16. Gay Catholics and Gay Republicans seem to have this delusion that a group that attracts people wanting to be told by Daddy what to do is going to all of a sudden let the children decide anything.

    The whole purpose of those two organizations is to control people by teaching they must have faith for faith sake and vote party no matter what.

    Flocks if sheep are tended for ONLY two be fleeced or slaughtered.

    Posted by: stevetalbert | Jan 23, 2014 7:56:13 AM

  17. What private schools have the right to do and what they actually do are two different things. Having the right to fire someone for getting married doesn't mean it's the right or smart thing to do. The truth is few if any of the students and teachers at the school follow Catholic "law" or teachings--so if they're going to be strict about it, everyone but a couple of nuns would be fired or expelled.

    Mark Zmuda probably worked for the school because it's a good school with good kids. And, until the hierarchy reared its head, the school probably operated mostly independently of strict Catholic dogma. He'll do fine--look at the outpouring of support. But these Catholic schools won't.

    This whole incident serves a good purpose. Because of it, a bunch of kids who may not have thought a lot about gay rights are now gay rights activists. And the leadership has been shown what happens when they ignore the people who support the school and keep it going. They can lock their doors, but they can't hide from progress forever, unless they want empty classrooms.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 23, 2014 10:40:37 AM

  18. Many Catholic Nuns are quite liberal. That is why the Vatican has been harassing them. It wouldn't surprise me if Sister Mary was torn by the decision that she had to make.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 23, 2014 3:39:42 PM

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