A Ohio Catholic school has forced its choir and band director to resign after telling schools officials he and his boyfriend recently became engaged.
Brian Panetta, who worked at Sandusky Central Catholic School for almost five years, was terminated Jan. 3 on the grounds that his engagement violated the religious teachings of the Catholic Church as it applies to marriage — just hours after he told school administrators about his engagement.
On Thursday, Panetta met with school officials and representatives of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, who agreed he could resign from his post instead of being terminated, according a report by the Sandusky Register.
Panetta and his fiancé, Nathan David, have been together for several years; David proposed on Christmas Day. They plan to marry in 2015. Their relationship was no secret to the school, his students and their families as David would attend events, according to the report.
Panetta issued a letter to the Sandusky Catholic community last Thursday, expressing gratitude for the support he has received and his hope for changes in the church under Pope Francis.
“As a proud and gay Catholic, I understand the Church’s teachings on marriage and agree that my engagement is a public statement of my position for marriage equality, which the Catholic Church does not yet support,” Panetta said. “I am hopeful to see change in the future, but until then I am praying for strength and understanding and encourage my students to do the same.”
Panetta’s forced resignation is the latest in a series of dismissals of out LGBT teachers from Catholic schools across the country — many of whom were fired for becoming engaged to marry.
BuzzFeed has reached out to Panetta and Sandusky Central Catholic School President Melody Curtis and will update this post if they respond.