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SANDUSKY, OH (Toledo News Now) -
A Sandusky Catholic Central High School band teacher says he was fired from his job after telling his employer his plans to marry his boyfriend.
Brian Panetta says his passion in life is music, and teaching students at Sandusky Catholic Central.
Panetta's time at the school has come to an end sooner than he would have liked, though. Panetta says over winter break his boyfriend of five years proposed.
Once classes resumed in January Panetta says he met with the president of the school system to share the news of his engagement and work something out. Several hours later, Panetta says he was handed a letter of termination.
"I would have liked to be there longer of course but I knew that at some point getting married would have put a limit on my time at a catholic school system," said Panetta.
Panetta says he spoke with the Toledo Catholic Diocese, who told him his engagement is a public statement in favor of marriage equality, which violated his contract. Panetta says he understands, but does not agree.
"I felt this would be a squander opportunity if I didn't take advantage if people wanted to hear the story. I think it's important that it's out there not to give the school any bad feelings or image, for people to know that teachers are out there that teach in catholic school systems because they are gay or going to get married they are asked to leave," said Panetta.
Panetta now plans to finish his masters in music at Bowling Green State University, and from there move out of the area.
Still, Panetta says if he had the chance, he would not do anything differently.
"I would do it all the same. I would work there, I would be there, I would still tell my school officials you know what was going on, I have a lot of respect for them, I have a lot of respect for the institution of the school and I valued my time there so I wouldn't do anything differently," said Panetta.
The Diocese of Toledo released the following statement on the matter.
Although the diocese does not normally comment on personnel matters out of respect for the individual, the diocese makes the following statement regarding a former employee of Sandusky Central Catholic School. The former employee, Mr. Brian Panetta, recently issued a public statement on this matter.
In light of the Church's clear teaching on sacred marriage and the fact that Mr. Panetta himself has publicly indicated his marriage plans are contrary to Church teachings and are the issue at the heart of this matter, the leadership of Sandusky Central Catholic School properly determined that his employment could not continue. When Sandusky Central Catholic School informed the diocese of the situation, the diocese fully concurred it was the correct decision and in keeping with the terms of his Teacher-Minister contract.
Click here to read a letter Panetta sent to his students after being terminated.