Former students held a rally for a gay Catholic school teacher in California who was fired from his position after marrying his partner, CBS Los Angles reported.
The ex-pupils of English teacher Ken Bencomo held a morning protest Thursday at Glendora, California's St. Lucy's Priory High School. They requested officials to rehire Bencomo.
"I believe very strongly in equal rights and in justice, but aside from that, Mr. Bencomo is an amazing teacher," Brittany Littleton, a protest organizer, told KNX 1070.
Bencomo, 45, was fired from St. Lucy's Priory after marrying his partner of 10 years, the San Bernardino Sun reported.
Officials were aware of Bencomo's sexual orientation for at least 10 of the 17 years he worked at the school, according to his lawyer Patrick McGarrigle.
"The reason given was that the marriage occurred and the school's position was that it violated church teachings," McGarrigle said.
The firing came days after photos of the wedding appeared in a local newspaper. Bencomo and Christopher Persky, 32, were among the first gay couples to line up at the San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder's Office to get married following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in the nation's most populous state.
In a statement, St. Lucy's said the school educates students in the tradition of the Catholic faith.
"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," the statement said.
As CBS Los Angeles reported, an online petition has received over 48,000 signatures for Bencomo's rehiring.