Mark Zmuda, who was also a swim coach at Eastside Catholic School, said he took the job after reading a school policy, since removed from its website, that it does not discriminate on the basis of an employee's sexual orientation or marital status.
ouster, which led to student protests followed by the school president's resignation, is an example of tension between the increasing number of Americans who support same-sex marriage and religiously affiliated employers who view it as immoral.
"I was told I could either divorce or be fired," Zmuda
told reporters at his
lawyer's Seattle office.
"How could anyone ask anyone else to make that kind of choice?"
Same-sex marriage became legal in Washington state in November 2012.
was married last July.
The school counters in a response that it said it had yet to file in court that Washington's gay marriage law exempts religious institutions from recognizing same-sex marriages.
A copy of the response seen by Reuters
also asserts that Zmuda's lawsuit infringes on the school's first amendment right to religious freedom.
It wants the lawsuit dismissed.
The school of 935 students in the Seattle suburb of Sammamish said Zmuda
had agreed to abide by Catholic principles, and that he
initially obscured his
relationship by listing his
then-boyfriend as a roommate on an emergency contact form.
It said parents complained of "inappropriate" photographs posted to Zmuda's Facebook account, which he
subsequently agreed to delete.
In a case similar to Zmuda's
in California in July, a teacher at a Catholic school was fired after marrying his
In December, a Catholic teacher in Pennsylvania told the Philadelphia Inquirer
and ABC News affiliate WPVI
was fired after he
applied for a marriage license with his
sued for breach of contract, violation of public policy and violation of state consumer-protection and anti-discrimination laws.