Students Planning Protest Against Gay Teacher's Firing at Glendora Catholic School

Supporters of fired St. Lucy's Priory teacher Ken Bencomo are planning a protest Thursday in front of the school.

Former St. Lucy's Priory teacher Ken Bencomo, 45, married his lontime partner Christoher Persky, 32, in a civil ceremony at the San Bernardino County Hall of Records July 1. Days later, Bencomo lost his job. Photo Credit: KTLA
Former St. Lucy's Priory teacher Ken Bencomo, 45, married his lontime partner Christoher Persky, 32, in a civil ceremony at the San Bernardino County Hall of Records July 1. Days later, Bencomo lost his job. Photo Credit: KTLA
Current and former students are planning a protest Thursday in front of St. Lucy's Priory, an all-girls Catholic high school in Glendora, demanding that the school reinstate a gay teacher after the school fired him after photos of his same-sex wedding ceremony were published in a newspaper. 

Former English teacher Ken Bencomo, 45, married his longtime partner Christopher Persky, 32, in a civil ceremony in July at the San Bernardino County Hall of Records. As one of the first same-sex marriage couples to line up to wed following a Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriages in California, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin published photos of the couple's wedding ceremony. 

Bencomo, a 17-year teacher at St. Lucy's, was fired from his job shortly after, according to his attorney Patrick McGarrigle.

School officials at St. Lucy's Priory have declined to comment, instead issuing a statement:  “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.”

An online petition to reinstate Bencomo has swelled to more than 13,000 supporters by Friday morning. The controversy has sparked heated debate over gay rights and private schools' rights to adhere religious standards. 

Former St. Lucy's student Brittany Littleton, 23, who initiated the petition, is organizing the protest. She said Bencomo's sexual orientation was known among students and staff at St. Lucy's Priory for years, but the teacher never discussed his lifestyle with his students. 

Littleton said Bencomo's "passion for teaching, as well as his witty personality, have made him a favorite teacher among many students.”

Joseph S1960 August 02, 2013 at 04:25 PM
They let the guy worked there for 17 years knowing his sexual orientation and he had a partner but after pictures were published of his wedding then he was fired, Sounds like a bunch of bigots!!!
yolanda miller August 03, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Or actually, you could look at it this way: they hired him, the loved him, they found out about his inclinations and still loved him, but when he decided to take a public stand for his beliefs, St. Lucy's hand was forced and they had to take a public stand for their beliefs as well. There is a difference between bigotry and disagreement. Bigotry infers hatred...letting someone go because of a difference in moral values is not hatred. If anything, the fact that they kept him on for 17 years, despite disagreement on this topic, demonstrates to me that there was anything but hatred for him. On the other hand, a lot of what's being thrown at St. Lucy's sure sounds like hate speech to me. I'm not sure St. Lucy's the bigot on this one...
Danielle Elmore August 03, 2013 at 02:12 PM
This is outrageous!!! His sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with his ability to do his job!! This just disgusts me to read this!! God is the only one who gets to judge....not any of us! The people behind this decision will have their day! Shame on you!!
Jess Gall August 04, 2013 at 03:04 AM
As a St. Lucy alumni I am ashamed of my alma mater. Christians pride themselves on not being the ones to judge yet here the very people teaching moral and Christian values are doing just that. What happened to those who live in glass houses? I don't know Mr. Bencomo and he came after I was gone but if he was a valid educator for 17 years what does his marriage to another male have to do with his job? Besides, more and more scientific evidence points to genetic reasons instead of choice and as a mental health professional it is these types of scenarios that keep me in business. What are you teaching the students? To be intolerable? To place judgment? Even our esteemed Pope said he wasn't here to judge. Shame on St. Lucy's, I saw you let unwed mothers back to school so your statements don't follow through. Too many inconsistencies.


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