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Catholic school fires gay teacher over wedding photos

On Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Ken BencomoA 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.

In a statement by St. Lucy’s, the school that fired Bencomo, they make it clear that the education of students within the tradition of the Catholic faith is their focus.

“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.

About - Tarringo T. Vaughan always believed he had a love affair with literature. One of the first pictures he saw of himself was of him at maybe the age of three or four year’s old sitting with a book in his hand. But for Tarringo, growing up in the depths of the inner city both in Boston, MA and Springfield, MA made him believe that expression through the literary voice was un-cool and unattainable. As a very quiet and shy child he learned it became very valuable in his self expression. Born in 1976, Tarringo was the first child, grandchild and nephew in a family that had grown accustomed to struggle. His mother was a teenager who quickly lost the support of my father who today he knows very little of. These aspects of his life triggered the inspiration of his pen.

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