A Beloved Gay Teacher Is Fired From Catholic School Because Of His Wedding Photos, Says Lawyer
More than 12,000 people have signed a petition by a former student to give "Mr. B" his job back.
Ken Bencomo was a teacher for 17 years at St. Lucy's Priory in California. According to his lawyer, he was fired after a local news organization published pictures of his marriage to his partner of 10 years, the San Bernardino Sun reported.
Bencomo and his partner Christopher Persky were one of the first same-sex couples to be married at the San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder's Office after the Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriages to resume in the state.
Bencomo's lawyer said that school officials were aware of his sexual orientation for at least 10 years. He said the school believed the marriage "violated church teachings."
The school issued a statement:
"As a Benedictine school, St. Lucy's is a community for those who wish to express Christian values in education and develop person and academic excellence."
Brittany Littleton, a former student of Bencomo has started a petition to give her "beloved" teacher his job back.
Ken Bencomo has been teaching at St. Lucy's for 17 years. He is a beloved mentor, confidant, and educator. His passion for teaching, as well as his witty personality, have made him a favorite teacher among many students. He is extremely active at St. Lucy's; he teaches multiple subjects along with taking on various leadership positions including Yearbook moderator, dance coach, and head of the English Department.
On July 1st, the Daily Bulletin ran an article about gay marriage, the front page featured a picture of Ken Bencomo and his longtime partner celebrating their marriage. The outpouring of love and support for the couple was overwhelming. Alumnae, teachers, staff, and friends of St. Lucy's expressed heartfelt congratulations to Ken, but the school itself responded in a much different manner. After 17 years of service and dedication, Ken Bencomo has been terminated from St. Lucy's.
As a proud alumni of St. Lucy's, I am disgusted and heartbroken by this act of prejudice. I believe that Mr. Bencomo deserves to keep his job, and that discrimination against teachers based on their sexual orientation must end. Please join me in speaking up for this adored teacher. Please contact St. Lucy's Priory high school at (626) 335-3322 or 655 W. Sierra Madre Ave., Glendora CA.
I am joined by many students and alumnae in saying that we believe this is a fight for love and equality, and as such we wish to display love and kindness, even while feeling hurt and shock. Please communicate with St. Lucy's in a respectful manner so that our voices will be heard.