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Originally published December 20, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Page modified December 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

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Editorial: Thanks to the students of Eastside Catholic for protesting Mark Zmuda’s ouster

Eastside Catholic School had an opportunity to teach students about tolerance and inclusion. Instead, the students turned the firing of a gay vice principal into a lesson for church leaders.

Seattle Times Editorial

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DOESN’T matter whether Eastside Catholic vice principal Mark Zmuda resigned or was fired. His departure had nothing to do with his job performance. The Archdiocese of Seattle and Zmuda’s fellow school leaders refused to tolerate his legal right to marry a man.

A Thursday protest by Eastside students should awaken Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and school president Sister Mary E. Tracy to the obvious: The hearts and minds of many young Catholics are changing. The students’ rebellion should provoke an institution that preaches compassion to also accept that individuals have a right to marry the person they love.

Sure, church doctrine is staunchly opposed to same-sex unions. And yes, Zmuda signed a contract to uphold Catholic teachings. But the ground has shifted significantly, from the Vatican to Sammamish.

The church has a history of selectively enforcing its own doctrine. Is Eastside Catholic now going to investigate whether its teachers use contraception?

Pope Francis himself illustrates the softening of doctrine. He was just named the Person of the Year by gay-rights magazine The Advocate after saying, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?”

Washington state voters passed marriage equality in 2012. The student protests — captured in the viral hashtag #KeepMrZ2013 — reflect a changing society. Thanks be to them for confronting the school’s bigotry.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, Lynne K. Varner, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

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