SEATTLE -- Students at Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish are continuing their protest of the forced departure of a gay vice principal.

A group of students on Friday demonstrated outside the Seattle Archdiocese to protest the resignation of Eastside Catholic Vice Principal Mark Zmuda. Zmuda resigned under pressure from school administrators after they learned he had married his same-sex partner.

Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray joined the group to show his support for the students.

On Thursday, hundreds of students staged a sit-in protest at the school cafeteria, refusing to go to class, and took their protest to the street outside.

An online petition started by the senior class president of Eastside Catholic was the third fastest growing U.S. petition on Friday, attracting around 15,000 signatures in one day.

Eastside Catholic attorney and spokesman Mike Patterson says Zmuda signed a contract that stated he would follow the church's official teachings, and gay marriage violates that contract. Friday is his last day at the school.

Bradley Strode says the students want to effect change within the wider Catholic Church, with an ultimate goal of changing the Catholic Church's stance on gay marriage.

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