Americans: Don't fire teachers over same-sex relationships

January 27, 2014, 3:35 PM GMT+0

A large majority of Americans do not think schools should fire teachers over same-sex relationships, but are more evenly split on religious private schools.

In late December, Mark Zmuda, a vice-principal at the Eastside Catholic High School in Seattle, was forced to resign from his position after marrying his male partner. Students protested the decision by quoting Pope Francis, staging sit-ins, and walking out of lessons at the school. Speaking on behalf of Eastside Catholic, Matthew Patterson said the issue the school had was not against the administrator being gay, but that he had knowingly gone against church doctrine by entering into a same-sex marriage. The protests eventually led to the resignation of the school's President, Sister Mary Tracy, though no decision has been taken to re-instate Zmuda.

According to the latest YouGov research, a majority of Americans (71%) think that schools should not be able to fire a teacher for being in a same-sex relationship. When asked specifically about religious private schools, opinion is much more divided, though people still tend to think that teachers in same-sex relationships should not face dismissal (47%) rather than support the ability of religious schools to sack teachers in same-sex relationships (42%).

Firing school professionals on the basis of same-sex relationships is actually something a majority of Catholics (51%) disagree with. Catholics, then, are more likely to disagree with this type of termination at religious private schools than Americans in general. 62% of Protestants, however, agree that religious private schools should be able to fire teachers if they engage in a same sex relationship.

Younger Americans (18-29) are much more likely to disagree that schools, religious (57%) or otherwise (76%), should be able to fire teachers involved in a same-sex relationship. Those over 65 are much more likely to agree that it is the school's decision. Both a majority of Democrats (83%) and Republicans (66%) do not think that schools should be able to fire a teacher for a same-sex relationship. The two parties split when asked specifically about religious private schools, where a majority of Republicans (64%) think that the religious school should be able to terminate a teacher under these circumstances.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty

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