of Alison Morrow
Staff Media Lead
After finding out their school’s vice principal was forced to resign after marrying his boyfriend, students of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington staged an epic sit-in protesting the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage, and the firing of Mark Zmuda.
The movement was initiated by Eastside senior, Caelan Colburn, who took to his Twitter account yesterday afternoon to tell fellow students, “If you’re not in the commons you’re missing out. Sit in starts today #KeepMrZ2013.”
“Me and three other friends of mine were like ‘whatever, we’re not going to class, we’re going to sit down right now,” Colburn said.
Photo courtesy of Savannah Salem
Through the powers of social media, those three protestors quickly turned into 150, and even spread to neighboring high schools like Holy Names and Seattle Prep; where those students also started sit-ins in protest of the same-sex discrimination against Zmuda. “Because there were so many of us there it wasn’t like a ‘go back to class’ thing,” says Colburn. “It was more like ‘express yourself and get your feelings out’ kind of thing.”
And after about an hour of the sit-in, word made its way to local media outlets and reporters quickly arrived on the scene as students moved their sit-in outdoors.
Photo courtesy of Josh Matte
Colburn says the decision to fire him in the first place came from the archdiocese and not the administration itself, though according to The Seattle Times
, teachers at the school “sign a contract agreeing to uphold Catholic doctrine,” which same-sex marriage directly violates. As of this writing, there have been no plans to reinstate Zmuda as a result of the protest.
Colburn urges students to rally together as a community to stand up for what they believe in:
“Whether it’s what the administration teaches or what the archdiocese preaches, being part of a progressive place like Seattle we’ve come to a point where we accept gay rights, accept homosexuals, and I think you ought to stand up for that no matter what anyone says. It’s your beliefs and you’re entitled to your own opinion. And today really showed that Eastside Catholic is a family and not only is a family but the entire community of Seattle Catholic schools are a family.”
Students also created a petition on Change.org
that has already received over 9,000 signatures.
A portion of the petition letter reads, “We are uniting in order to change the Catholic Church’s opposition of gay marriage. It is time to revisit the policy and act as Jesus would have, loving and supporting every person regardless of their marital status. United, we want this policy changed so that the Catholic Church can achieve its mission of acting with unconditional love in every situation.”
You can stand (or sit) with the students of Eastside by signing their petition and letting your voice be heard!