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Catholic school that forced out gay administrator keeps lesbian music coach

Friday, January 10, 2014
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SAMMAMISH, Wash. — A part-time musical coach at a Catholic school in Washington state who recently announced she is engaged to her same-sex partner said Thursday the school has given her a new employment agreement as an independent contractor.

Stephanie Merrow (right) and Jenny Frazier

Stephanie Merrow (right) with her fiance Jenny Frazier

Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish is the same school that recently forced out a vice principal who married his partner.

Stephanie Merrow said she was nervous before her meeting with the school’s principal, Polly Skinner, but it was “very warm and welcoming.

“She was very nice, she made me feel very valued,” Merrow said, adding, “I got a little raise.”

In response to her inquiry at the meeting, Merrow said she was told her marital status doesn’t matter.

The contract did not talk about Catholic teachings, she said.

School attorney Mike Patterson didn’t immediately return a call and email for comment.

Merrow is choreographing this year’s spring musical.

Students at Eastside Catholic have led protests recently over the departure of vice principal Mark Zmuda.

The school and Zmuda have disputed the circumstances of his departure, with Zmuda saying he was fired and the school saying he resigned after acknowledging that his marriage violated Catholic teaching and, subsequently, the terms of his contract.

Merrow got engaged shortly after Zmuda’s departure. She has said the timing of the engagement was a coincidence. Still, she said she wanted to go public to support the students who have been leading protests on behalf of Zmuda.

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