BURIEN, Wash. — Students of Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien protested again on Friday, this time outside the Archdiocese of Seattle, in support of their teachers who were forced to resign due to their relationships with their same-sex partners.
The two teachers, Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie, "voluntarily resigned" from the Catholic school last week after telling school officials about their recent engagements to their partners.
Shannon McMinimee, of Cedar Law, is representing Danforth and Beattie and said the teachers were hoping to have a dialogue with the school.
"They were hoping to have a dialogue with the school about their desire to be their authentic selves and not hide that they were engaged and not hide who they were engaged to," explained McMinimee. "And that -- what they thought would be a conversation with their principal turned into being called into the presidents' office and being told that the superintendent of the archdiocese school system wanted their keys the minute they found out they were gay and engaged."
Michael Prato, the president of Kennedy Catholic High School, opened up about the situation on Friday. He released the following statement in part:
"The two teachers proactively came to me in November to share their desire to marry their same-sex partners. We discussed this decision in the context of their covenant agreement, and they voluntarily resigned. I hired these teachers and I care about them very much. I still do. I wanted to make sure they felt supported, and so we discussed several options including the possibility of finishing out the school year...They indicated they wished to resign prior to the winter break in February. We worked with them to arrive at a mutually agreeable transition plan and financial package to assure they would be supported in their transition."
The Archdiocese of Seattle also released a statement about the teachers' resignation.
"Those who teach in our schools are required to uphold our teaching in the classroom and to model it in their personal lives. We recognize and support the right of each individual to make choices. We also understand that some choices have particular consequences for those who represent the church in an official capacity," read the statement in part.
Meanwhile, students from Kennedy Catholic High School as well as students from Bishop Blanchet, a Catholic school in Seattle, and community members gathered in support of the teachers Friday.
"Everyone deserves to have their way of viewing things and everyone deserves to love who they love," said one student protesting outside the Archdiocese.
"If we continue our marches and we continue our protests, I think we could actually make a difference," said another student.
The students held up signs that read "Do the right thing" and "Love is Love" and "Bring back our teachers."