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Gay Teacher Fired By Catholic School After Marrying His Longtime Partner
Students, alumni and parents of an all-girls Catholic school are protesting their school's decision to fire a gay teacher after he married his longtime partner.St. Lucy's Priory High School of Glendora—about 30 miles east of Los Angeles—fired Ken Bencomo within two weeks of marrying his partner of 10 years Christopher Persky, according to The Daily Bulletin.
Bencomo and Persky were married not long after Proposition 8 was overturned, and their wedding ceremony was featured on the front page of The Bulletin. Bencomo's attorney Patrick McGarrigle said that the school had long known about his client's sexual orientation, and Bencomo had even introduced his long-time partner to school administrators. Administrators seemed to be uncomfortable with the fact that his marriage was splashed across the front page of the local paper.
The school said through a statement from its attorney, “While the school does not discriminate against teachers or other school employees based on their private lifestyle choices, public displays of behavior that are directly contrary to church teachings are inconsistent with these values. These values are incorporated into the contractual obligations of each of our instructors and other employees."
But current and former students have protested the decision and they're demanding that he be reinstated. Brittany Littleton, 23, a St. Lucy's graduate who lives in Beverly Hills has been organizing the effort. She started a petition to reinstate him that has gotten more than 12,000 signatures—some local and many more from out-of-state.
The petition that says Bencomo worked as a yearbook moderator, dance coach and head of the English Department reads:
"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."
Littleton told the Los Angeles Times, "He never made it part of the discussion and he never pushed his personal life on us. But we knew, the school knew, teachers knew -- it was never a problem."
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