A wedding is supposed to be a joyous time. It symbolizes love and commitment and it also symbolizes a new beginning. But for 45-year-old Ken Bencomo, his recent wedding resulted in his firing. As reported by the Associated Press on Aug. 2, Bencomo lost his job at a Catholic high school in Southern California after wedding pictures surfaced in a local newspaper.
Bencomo, who is a gay teacher, married his partner of 10 years. He was open with is sexual orientation with the school but the school feels Bencomo’s marriage sends the wrong message to their students. According to Bencomo’s lawyer Patrick McGarrigle, the marriage “violated church teachings.”
After the historic Supreme Court rulings that overturned California’s Proposition 8, same-sex marriage resumed in the state of California and Bencomo and his spouse Christopher Persky was one of the first gay couples to line up at the San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder’s Office. That was one of the reasons the wedding photos were published in the paper, but the image and message of the photos was not something the school wanted to be a representation of their school.
“As a Benedictine school, St. Lucy’s is a community for those who wish to express Christian values in education and develop personal and academic excellence.”
Bencomo’s students were well aware of his sexual orientation and many of them have put together a petition that has already accumulated over 10,000 signatures in support of Bencomo and asking the staff at Catholic schools to change their policies.
Students and alumni are not only standing behind Bencomo, they are also standing behind love and equality and a vision for change.