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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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Gay Oregon Couple Together For 60 Years Goes To Washington To Get Married: AUDIO

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As same-sex marriage becomes legal in more and more states across the country, gay and lesbian couples from neighboring states that prohibit same-sex marriage often pour in to nearby LGBT-friendly states to say, "I do." One such couple, Eric Marcoux and Eugene Woodworth of Portland, Oregon, who we told you about almost a year ago, have finally decided to tie the knot after 60 years together. Though Oregon has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the couple travelled to nearby Washington state that just last year legalized same-sex marriage. The couple didn't rush to the altar once the Evergreen state made equality the law of the land, preferring to have their wedding in Oregon once it became legal there. However, Woodworth has recently been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and, according to doctors, only has weeks to live. He wants to marry his longtime partner now because he hopes Marcoux will be able to inherit his social security survivor benefits. From Oregon Public Radio:

Eric Marcoux and Eugene Woodworth have been together since they the day they met in Chicago in 1953. “I am here today to be legally married to Eugene Woodworth, with whom I have had an intimate deeply committed relationship for a little over sixty years,” Marcoux says. Marcoux is 83 years old and Woodworth is 85...

“We’ve observed federal government extending privileges. Then it occurred to us, ‘Well, maybe we’ll be able to transfer his social security, which is significantly greater than mine, to me,” says Marcoux. “And although it’s a modest one, it will make an enormous difference in the kind of life that I will be able to leave – live! – and leave.”

“He deserves it after living with me for sixty years,” Woodworth says.

“Maybe we should unpack that,” Marcoux jokes.

After the couple was legally married, Woodworth told the Judge who officiated,

“We’ve been married twice before in religious ceremonies...But we met sixty years ago, and this is the first legal thing. It’s such a pity that we had to wait that long.”

After signing the marriage documents, the two make their way out to their car for the 20-minute drive home to Oregon.

Marcoux gets in the car and shuts the door.

“We made it,” he says with a sigh. “Wonderful! We made it.”

You can also check out an audio clip on the adorable couple's big day AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Oregon Couple Together For 60 Years Goes To Washington To Get Married: AUDIO" »


Catholic High School Students Protest Firing Of Principal For Marrying His Husband: VIDEO

Eastside Catholic School protest

Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington has a problem on its hands. Mark Zmuda, the former vice principal of ECHS, is gay. What's more is that Mr. Zmuda married his partner Dana Jergens last July, approximately seven months after same-sex marriage was made legal in the state of Washington. However, the Archdiocese of Seattle determined that Zmuda's actions were in violation of the teachings of the church and thus were grounds for termination.

This decision was not well-received by Mr. Zmuda's students or co-workers, many of whom broke into tears at the news. Then, the students showed the bishops that they do not have the grip on moral authority that they think they do. Rather than accepting Mr. Zmuda's termination, the entire student body staged protests, chanted "Change the church", and took to Twitter with the hashtag #KeepMrZ2013 to spread the word of their dissatisfaction.

Students from the school and within the diocese are collecting signatures in hopes that they can restore Zmuda to his position as vice principal.

Watch a news report on the massive protests, AFTER THE JUMP...

Zmuda

Continue reading "Catholic High School Students Protest Firing Of Principal For Marrying His Husband: VIDEO" »


Pastor Ken Hutcherson Dies

Pastor Ken Hutcherson, Washington state's lead crusader against same-sex marriage and former Seattle Seahawk, has died, Antioch Bible Church reports:

HutchersonAntioch Bible Church sadly announces that shortly before noon today our Senior Pastor Dr. Ken Hutcherson was ushered into the presence of the Lord. Please pray for comfort and peace for the family. The family asked that you give them some privacy at this time. Please no phone calls or visit.

Hutcherson battled prostate cancer for more than a decade, the Seattle Times reports:

His slogan was “Black and White in a Gray World.” Colleagues said that summed up both his conviction that Christians from all ethnicities, social and economic backgrounds should feel comfortable worshiping together and his belief that God’s word is immutable and unchanging.

His supporters described him as a funny and happy person — remaining jovial even through prostate cancer — who had been mischaracterized as a hate-filled preacher.

His detractors, however, mostly in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community,  considered him a bully who used religion to campaign against the rights of gays to marry.


Fourth Openly Gay Man Appointed To Washington House

Brady Wilkinshaw

After Ed Murray was elected to mayor of Seattle last month, his position in the 43rd Legislative District state Senate was left vacant. State representative Jamie Pedersen ran for the seat more or less unopposed and as a result his seat in the state House has been filled by Cuban-American and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officer Brady Walkinshaw.

Wilkinshaw is now the fourth openly gay man in a row to be elected to the state House, with Pedersen before him being openly gay, as well as Pedersen's predecessors Ed Murray and Cal Anderson. On Wilkinshaw's platform were the advancement of gay rights as well as passing the Voting Rights Act, which failed the last time it was in Olympia. During the Q&A he noted that Yakima's seven-member citywide council did not have a single Latino representative despite Latinos comprising over 40% of the population, suggesting that Wilkinshaw could help usher in more cultural diversity among Seattle's lawmakers.


Gay Weddings Made Up Seventeen Percent Of Washington Weddings Last Year

6a00d8341c730253ef019b01a8a332970c-250wiLast November, Washington's Referendum 74 passed in a "clear win" for marriage equality, making the Evergreen State the first in the Pacific Northwest to legalize gay marriage. According to the AP, more than 7,000 same-sex couples were married in Washington State in the last year, the first year in which it was legal for same-sex couples to legally do so:

So far, most of the state's same sex marriages, 62 percent, were between two women.

The top five counties where same sex marriages took place are King, Clark, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties. Garfield County is the only county where no same sex marriages were performed.

As previously reported, the state's LGBT friendly marriage laws have also helped to drive tourism as many people from nearby Oregon as well as other parts of the county are coming to Washington to make it official. Roughly 25% of the gay couples who were married in Washington this past year came from out of state. Of those, the largest contingent was comprised of Oregonians. 


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