(Photo: King 5 News Video screencap)
A Catholic high school president in Seattle has resigned following public controversy that stemmed from the firing of the school's former vice principal for marrying his same-sex partner.
"Sister Mary (Tracy) came to this decision after much prayer and reflection. For Sister Mary it was a difficult, but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is moving forward on a positive path," stated a letter by Eastside Catholic's Board of Trustees on Tuesday, shared by KING 5 News.
Sister Mary Tracy reportedly submitted her resignation on Sunday, and the school has said that search for her replacement will begin soon.
The resignation follows a controversial episode for the Catholic school, after students protested against the firing of former Vice Principal Mark Zmuda, who was let go in December after he married his same-sex partner.
An online petition in support of Zmuda has gathered over 20,000 signatures, but the Archdiocese of Seattle has stood behind the Eastside school in its decision to stand firm on Roman Catholic principles, which do not approve of same-sex marriage.
"The recent personnel decision by the board and administrators of Eastside Catholic regarding Mr. Zmuda was made after a great deal of prayer and consultation. In no way was their goal to be discriminatory to anyone but to be faithful to their mission as a Catholic school. The Archdiocese supports their decision," the Catholic institution said in an official statement last week.
The school has stated that it respects its students' right to protest, but affirmed that following Zmuda's marriage it was left "with no acceptable alternative that would allow him to remain eligible for employment at Eastside Catholic School."
Zmuda responded to the news of Sister Tracy's resignation by calling it "a shame."
"I think it's just a shame that Eastside Catholic has lost another administrator and, at this time, I can just say that I'm just praying for Eastside Catholic, I'm praying for the families and I'm praying for Sister Mary Tracy," the former Vice Principal said.
In its letter to the community, the Board of Trustees said that it realizes many members have questions over the recent events, and announced it is setting up an additional town hall meeting on Thursday.
"In closing, we want to once again thank Sr. Mary for her many contributions and to thank each of you in the broader EC community for your ongoing thoughts, prayers and support of the Eastside Catholic school," the letter concluded.