A Catholic School in Sandusky Ohio has forced out its music teacher of five years after learning of his engagement to his same-sex partner. Initially, Sandusky Central Catholic School sent a letter to Brian Panetta firing him for violating the teachings of the Catholic Church, but he later met with representatives of the Toledo Diocese, who agreed he could resign instead. Panetta explained to the Sandusky Register that the school saw his engagement as “a public statement of my support for equality for gay marriage, which the Catholic Church does not support.”
Last week, Panetta sent a letter to families discussing his departure, identifying himself as a “proud and gay Catholic:
It is with heavy heart and great remorse that I find myself stepping down from my position as Director and Coordinator of Music at Sandusky Central Catholic School.
I am, however, proud to announce that over Christmas Break I accepted a proposal of engagement to my partner of five years. As a proud and gay Catholic, I understand the Church’s teachings on marriage and agree that my engagement is a public statement of my position for marriage equality, which the Catholic Church does not yet support. I am hopeful to see change in the future, but until then I am praying for strength and understanding and encourage my students to do the same.
During his time in the district, Panetta vastly expanded the entire music program, with the school’s band expanding from 18 to 50 members.