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San Bernardino Man Says He Was Fired After Marrying Same-Sex Partner

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GLENDORA (CBSLA.com) — A San Bernardino man says he was fired from his job less than two weeks after he celebrated his marriage to his same-sex partner.

Reporting for CBS2, Andrea Fujii said Ken Bencomo and Christopher Persky were one of the first same-sex couples to get married in San Bernardino. Their announcement and subsequent nuptials were announced in local papers like the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

The couple got married days after the Supreme Court overturned Prop 8.

Less than two weeks after saying “I do,” Bencomo says he was terminated from his teaching job at St. Lucy’s Priory High School, an all-girls Catholic school, in Glendora.

Fujii spoke to Bencomo’s attorney by phone.

Patrick McGarrigle, the attorney, said the school only fired Bencomo for getting wed.

“Their reasoning was that he had gotten married and it was in the papers. The school’s position was that it violated its teachings,” says McGarrigle.

School administrators declined to discuss the firing on camera. But they did issue a statement that read, in part, “We respect and protect privacy interests and, to be respectful of those involved, the school does not comment on confidential matters. St. Lucy’s wishes to reassure all in our community that upholding its mission to educate students in the tradition of the Catholic faith is of paramount importance.”

Bencomo, 45, had been a teacher at St. Lucy’s for 17 years. He was head of the English department and he coached the dance squad.

His attorney says the school knew Bencomo was gay and continued to renew his contract every year — until he got married.

“He’s upset .He feels terrible for his students, who he cares much about. He enjoys teaching very much,” said McGarrigle.

Fujii reported an online petition — to get Bencomo’s job back — has been signed by thousands.

McGarrigle said his client wants to resolve the matter out of the courts. He told Fujii at this point, it’s “not clear” what the best resolution would be.

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