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Washington Catholic school students launch petition to protest gay vice principal's departure

Students from Eastside Catholic High School yell to honking cars on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in Sammamish, Wash. The students and faculty at the high school were protesting Thursday after learning their vice principal was asked to resign after school officials learned he had married his same-sex partner. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Steve Ringman) SEATTLE OUT; USA TODAY OUT; MAGAZINES OUT; TELEVISION OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT TO: THE SEATTLE TIMESThe Associated Press

Students at a Seattle-area Catholic school are gaining national attention for their protest over the forced departure of a gay vice principal.

An online petition started by the senior class president of Eastside Catholic was the third fastest growing U.S. petition on change.org Friday, attracting around 15,000 signatures in one day.

The petition was launched after Vice Principal Mark Zmuda resigned under pressure from school administrators after they learned he had married his same-sex partner.

Eastside Catholic attorney and spokesman Mike Patterson says Zmuda signed a contract that stated he would follow the church's official teachings, and gay marriage violates that contract.

Bradley Strode says the students want to effect change within the wider Catholic Church, with an ultimate goal of changing the Catholic Church's stance on gay marriage.