A Catholic School Principal Was Given A Choice: Quit Or Divorce. He Decided To Sue Instead

Mark ZmudaMark Zmuda no longer has his job as the vice principal of Eastside Catholic High School outside of Seattle. His new job is to get justice for being fired for marrying his husband. Zmuda has filed a lawsuit against the school and the Archdiocese of Seattle, on the grounds that school promised not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

“If I had read the school’s website and it had said, ‘We do not hire gay men or gay men who marry,’ I would have never taken the job at Eastside Catholic,” said Zmuda. Zmuda is seeking unspecified damages, but any resolution is unlikely to involve his return to the school.

Zmuda’s case illustrates everything that is wrong about the Catholic Church’s attitude toward marriage equality: duplicity, deception and discrimination, in equal measures. Zmuda was a beloved at the school and kept his marriage to his partner to himself. However,  when he mentioned his marriage to some co-workers, a colleague ratted him out and Zmuda found himself out of a job.

But not before the president of the school decided that divorce wouldn’t violated Catholic teaching if it applied to a gay marriage. Sister Mary Tracy generously offered to let Zmuda keep his job if he would leave the love of his life, because being a vice principal is apparently so much more rewarding.

“I was asked by the school to break my wedding vows to keep my job,” Zmuda said at a news conference Friday. “I was told I could either divorce or be fired. How could anyone ask anyone else to make that choice?”

In the best tradition of upholding the value of honesty, the school then said that Zmuda quit voluntarily. However, the school told parents that he was terminated.

Zmuda says that the school was originally supportive of his marriage but change its attitude because of pressure from the Archdiocese of Seattle. The Archdiocese denies the allegation. And we all know what a great track record on honesty they’ve had in this case.


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  • Dakotahgeo

    Love it! I hope the lawsuit bankrupt’s the school and Diocese!

  • Fitz

    PUHLEAZE. He took their money and promoted their business for 10+ years. He was PART of them. Part of the problem. He cashed everyone of those paychecks knowing that he was PART of institutional discrimination. He got all upset when it was pointed at him, but he had no problem with it before. He is not a hero– he’s a willing participant who got his own hand slapped.

  • misterhollywood

    I have mixed thoughts on this one given his time with school. It is easy however to criticize … I was not in his shoes. Interesting situation for sure.

  • Cam

    Interesting that the head of the school somehow thinks that interpretation of Catholic Doctrine is her decision to make. She didn’t contact a Bishop, write to the Vatican, nope it was fine for her to advocate a divorce etc…

    That is the problem with these religious bigoted nut-jobs. They ALL claim they speak for God, but really their are just run of the mill small minded bigots.

  • Cam


    Yeah, he took a job there when Gay Marriage wasn’t legal, it became legal and he acted on it.

  • DuMaurier

    So the school had a non-discrimination policy regarding sexual orientation, AND employee contracts had a clause requiring them to live according to “Catholic teaching.”

    Sounds like a collision course waiting to happen to me.

  • GeriHew

    Catholics just want same-sex couples to live in sin and go to confession every week.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Fitz: You didn’t read the story very well, did you??!? Reread and educate thyself!

  • Polaro

    @Fitz: Ever not this nasty?

  • Dakotahgeo


    Every time a coin in the plate rings,
    Asoul from Pergatory springs.
    ~loosely translated from Martin Luther’s Works.~

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Dakotahgeo: It’s all about the money in most Catholic churches, sadly… and others.

  • balehead

    The sad queens on here don’t get this…He promoted their agenda….and now he’s using his gaycard status to cash out….Typical borderline personalty…

  • Dakotahgeo

    @balehead: Ahhh… ever the pot calling the kettle….

  • tdx3fan

    He cannot possibly claim he is the best candidate for the job while still claiming he had no idea he would be fired for being gay. This was a Catholic school. He should have seen this coming. Hell, he did see this coming which is why he kept his mouth shut. I wonder how many kids suffered because this man was not willing to stand up for them. How many kids suffered because they were gay and in Catholic school?

    He does not deserve to win any money. He does not even deserve to win this case. He needs to be shown that when you spend 10+ years of your life living in a closet and supporting bigotry outright that you do not then get to whine about it when that same bigotry is directed at you. As for the legal matter, the school should be part of the church and should be covered by freedom of religion protections.

  • Jonty Coppersmith


    My husband went to confession Saturday evening to discuss the issue, and because he was not married in the church he was rejected by the priest. So I dont’ think your point stands. I should point out the hubby is the pianist/choir director at that church.

  • Jonty Coppersmith

    I obviously support civil equality for LGBT citizens. At the same time I respect the right of churches to follow their own teachings. This guy knew he was working for the Catholic Church so he has no grounds on which to sue. His case should be thrown out or court.

  • GeriHew

    @Jonty Coppersmith: If you mean the priest is refusing to hear your husband’s confession then I suggest that your hubby asks the priest if he will hear his confession if he divorces you.

    Of course I’m not suggesting you actually get a divorce; just that you test my theory.

  • Jonty Coppersmith

    Your point was that the catholic church just wants gay people to keep living in sin in order to keep them coming to confession. My point is that they don’t care whether they come to confession or not. They just hate gay folks one way or the other. I would prefer my husband not work for them, but that isn’t my choice.

  • Fitz

    @Polaro: Yes, as a matter of fact. I’m a sweet heart when I’m not dealing with the idolization of some opportunistic jerk. Ever look at an issue fully, even if the guy involved happens to be handsome?

  • bmwblonde

    What part of: “The Catholic Church is an insane, money-grubbing, utterly cynical and UNETHICAL organization, preaching totally arbitrary and MADE UP concepts” — does anyone (having a brain) not yet understand?

    I DO understand the difficulty of struggling to become DE-brainwashed, for people of any ilk raised in this Crazy Cult of Agreement (up is down, the sun revolves around the Earth, sex and the body are evil, women are dirt, yada yada yada). Cray cray!

    And yet, LGBT’s who were “raised Catholic” often have an additional layer of stupid, invalidating, utterly MADE-UP emotional junk to shed, even beyond “merely” being Gay in our Puritanical, life and love-hating society. Oh, and it’s a society where men showing tenderness towards each other, instead of violence, is viewed as a “threat.” That is sick.

    But we all need to GET OVER IT. “The” church is insane, loves only money and hates people (because we are Essentially Bad). The giving, loving, even saintly Catholics who DO exist and do good works in the world WOULD HAVE DONE THEM ANYWAY, without the asinine baggage of the church. So let’s visualize the world of John Lennon’s “Imagine” — and stop reacting to and giving energy to this preposterous dying relic. News flash: over 30% of people under 30 IN THIS COUNTRY are listing themselves as having NO religion. In France (a far more mature country) church attendance is under 3% of the population. Progress!

  • inbama


    What you think of the Catholic Church is irrelevant.

    If we do not support our gay brothers and sisters in their struggles for justice regardless of who or whom is their persecutor, we betray the movement.

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