More on the Firing of Mark Zmuda from Eastside Catholic

The Seattle Times stays on the story:

Mark Zmuda, 38, a well-liked swim coach who was vice principal of Eastside’s middle and high schools until Dec. 20, said the school’s president told him he could keep his job if he divorced his husband of five months and had a commitment ceremony.

The incongruousness of this suggestion points towards the rhetorical corner the Church has painted itself into on this issue.  Instead of embracing same sex marriage as a way for gay people to participate in the many legal and human goods that come from stable, long-term relationships, Church leaders have opted for an all-or-nothing approach in which divorce becomes somehow preferable to marriage for same-sex couples.

It's clear from Zmuda's conversations with the school's administrators that it was his marriage -- and not the fact that he was in a long term gay relationship -- that led to his termination.  I'm sure many defenders of the Church's position on same sex marriage will take that as a sensible distinction to draw. Entering into a marriage that is contrary to official Church teaching has a public status that is absent with cohabitation or use of contraception or any other number of common behaviors for which the Church has by and large not seen fit to punish its employees.  And so the Chuch can punish someone for it without inquiring into the goings on in their bedroom.  As others have noted, however, the Church does not appear to have applied this standard consistently to heterosexual educators who divorce and remarry.  

Eduardo M. Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. The views expressed in the piece are his own, and should not be attributed to Cornell University or Cornell Law School.

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