The president of a Seattle-area Catholic high school resigned Tuesday as fallout among students and the local community continues over her decision to dismiss its vice principal for marrying his partner.
Sister Mary Tracy has resigned as president of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington effective immediately, the school’s attorney and spokesperson Mike Patterson confirmed to BuzzFeed. The news was first reported by the Seattle Times.
“Sister Mary came to this decision after much prayer and reflection,” the district stated in a Tuesday email to parents. “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.”
Tracy’s resignation comes after weeks of criticism school administrators have faced over the termination of Eastside’s vice principal, Mark Zmuda after learning that he married another man. Zmuda’s marriage violated the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, which it considers as only between one man and one woman, the school said of his dismissal.
The district will now begin a search for a new president, according to the statement.
However, Patterson said linking Tracy’s resignation with Zmuda’s dismissal would be “speculation.” He declined to make any further comments.
Eastside students rallied around their former vice principal and staged protests over his forced departure, which made headlines around the globe. The students also launched a change.org petition demanding the Catholic Church change its policies on out LGBT employees, which has garnered over 45,000 signatures.
Last week, the Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain issued a statement defending the decision to let Zmuda go, saying it was made “after a great deal of prayer and consultation.”
“In no way was their goal to be discriminatory to anyone but to be faithful to their mission as a Catholic school,” Sartain said. “The Archdiocese supports their decision. The decision has been misunderstood and mischaracterized by some, and we now have an opportunity to help our students learn even more about Catholic teaching.”
A message was left with Sartain spokesman Greg Magnoni seeking additional comments.