Gay Teacher Fired From Calif. School After Wedding

PHOTO: Gay Teacher Fired From Calif. School After WeddingStill from Inland Valley Daily Bulletin video
Christopher Persky, 32, right, and his partner of 10 years Ken Bencomo, 45, get married at the San Bernardino County Hall of Records in San Bernardino, California.

Last week Pope Francis made international headlines when he said "if someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

The administration at St. Lucy's Priory High School, a private Catholic school in Southern California, didn't seem to get the memo.

A St. Lucy's school teacher was fired after a local newspaper printed pictures of his wedding ceremony with his same-sex partner. Ken Bencomo of Rancho Cucamonga married his partner of 10 years in a civil ceremony shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that allowed gay marriages to resume in California.

Bencomo taught at the all-girls school St. Lucy's Priory High School for 17 years but he was fired two weeks after his wedding ceremony. His attorney says school officials were aware of Bencomo's sexual orientation for at least 10 of the 17 years he worked at the school, according to the AP.

"The reason given was that the marriage occurred and the school's position was that it violated church teachings," lawyer Patrick McGarrigle told the AP.

A former St. Lucy's Priory student started an online petition to pressure the school to re-hire Bencomo.

"Alumnae, teachers, staff, and friends of St. Lucy's expressed heartfelt congratulations to Ken, but the school itself responded in a much different manner," former student Brittany Littleton wrote in the pettion.

"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," Bencomo went on to write.

The petition has more than 8,100 signatures.

While same-sex partner can get married in many parts of the country, gays can still get fired.

California is one of the few states that offers employees protections from being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is legal to fire employees based on their sexual orientation in 29 states.