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Catholic school choir director forced to resign following engagement to partner

Monday, January 13, 2014
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SANDUSKY, Ohio — A Catholic school in Sandusky, Ohio, has forced its band and choir director to resign after school officials learned he and his boyfriend recently became engaged to be married.

Brian Panetta (left) and Nathan David

Brian Panetta (left) and Nathan David

Brian Panetta said he initially received a letter of termination Jan. 3, which stated he was fired for violating the moral and religious teachings of the Catholic Church, reported the Sandusky Register.

But after meeting last week with school administrators, a priest and representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, Panetta said he was allowed to resign instead of having a termination on his record.

Panetta and his fiancé, Nathan David, began dating while attending the University of Dayton five years ago. They plan to wed in July 2015.

Their relationship wasn’t a secret to the Sandusky Central Catholic School community, as David often attended school events and met several students and their families, Panetta said.

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All Sandusky Central Catholic School employees must sign a contract stating they will live a lifestyle according to the Catholic faith, he said.

“I knew if we ever wanted to get married, it would limit my time teaching at the school I love,” Panetta said. “When I met with the diocese, they basically told me my engagement is a public statement of my support for equality for gay marriage, which the Catholic Church does not support.”

Panetta, who was in his fifth year at Sandusky Central, distributed a letter to the school community on Friday that announced his resignation and his engagement to David, in which he referred to himself a “proud and gay Catholic.”

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