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Teacher fired after 17 years for Gay Marriage


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GLENDORA, CA ? A Teacher of 17 years at a Catholic high school in Glendora, Calif., was fired recently after getting married to his gay partner in a San Bernardino civil ceremony.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 45-year-old Ken Bencomo was fired because of his same-sex ceremony.

?The reason given was that the marriage occurred and the school?s position was that it violated church teachings,? said Bencomo?s attorney Patrick McGarrigle.

Bencomo headed up the English department at St. Lucy?s Priory High School in Glendora, as well as moderated the yearbook and was a dance coach.

St. Lucy's Priory High School Credit: Change.org
St. Lucy?s Priory High School
Credit: Change.org
Nineteen-year-old Abigail O?Brian, A former student, told the newspaper, ?He never talked about his personal life to his students, but it?s something that students and faculty knew.?

According to McGarrigle, ?St. Lucy?s has known of Mr. Bencomo?s orientation for years. Administrators had been introduced to his partner in the past, so the suggestion that Ken?s orientation is a surprise or that his lifestyle somehow violated doctrine is at odds with the school?s knowledge and what seemed to be acceptance of him until most recently.?

Bencomo along with his new husband, 32-year-old Christopher Persky were one of the first gay couples waiting to get married on July 1, right after a Supreme Court decision allowed same-sex marriages.

In a statement St Lucy officials said they planned on educating students, ?in the tradition of the Catholic faith.? Continuing the statement read, ?As a Benedictine school, St. Lucy?s is a community for those who wish to express Christian values in education and develop person and academic excellence.?

A petition has been started at Change.org by a past student, Brittany Littleton, and currently has close to 3,000 signatures and climbing.

The petition said, ?On July 1st, the Daily Bulletin ran an article about gay marriage, the front page featured a picture of Ken Bencomo and his longtime partner celebrating their marriage. The outpouring of love and support for the couple was overwhelming. Alumnae, teachers, staff, and friends of St. Lucy?s expressed heartfelt congratulations to Ken, but the school itself responded in a much different manner. After 17 years of service and dedication, Ken Bencomo has been terminated from St. Lucy?s.?

Littleton said, ?As a proud alumni of St. Lucy?s, I am disgusted and heartbroken by this act of prejudice. I believe that Mr. Bencomo deserves to keep his job, and that discrimination against teachers based on their sexual orientation must end.? Pleading for help she wrote, ?Please join me in speaking up for this adored teacher. Please contact St. Lucy?s Priory high school at (626) 335-3322 or 655 W. Sierra Madre Ave., Glendora CA.?

Does the church have a right to fire someone over gay marriage?


I think this a terrible shame. A teacher for 17 years, and fired because of sexual preferences.
Although I strongly disagree with the actions that have occurred because of the teacher's sexual orientation, it was a bit silly to work in a Catholic school when you act against their teachings.

It's terrible how religion can allow this to happen, really. They've taken away something that this teacher has worked for over 17 years of their life. Another problem to add to the list of problems religion causes. Evidently I could be seen as bias because I'm an Atheist, but surely anyone can see that religion is causing more problems than good overall. :confused:
This is why I hate religion.
They're teaching kids that homosexuality is wrong and to basically be ignorant, homophobic people.

It gets me so angry.
This reminds me of a story a while back, about a Christian teacher who was fired from a Muslim school because he refused to remove his cross pendant... Sure, it's kinda stupid. But you're asking for it by expressly working somewhere that goes directly against your views/beliefs.
Regardless of my beliefs about being gay, this is discrimination. Why should the catholic church be exempt from discrimination? Did the man suddenly become a bad teacher when the church discovered he was gay? I kinda doubt it.
Despite the fact that it is discrimination and that the member of staff could act against it - it probably wouldn't work in his favour as all high powers try to be politically correct and not stand on anyone's toes - particularly the holy, can-do-no-wrong toes of religion.