SEATTLE -

The Archdiocese of Seattle says it won't rehire a gay vice principal who was encouraged to leave a Catholic high school after school officials learned he had married his same-sex partner.

Students and parents protesting the departure of Mark Zmuda turned in a petition with more than 30,000 signatures yesterday seeking the return of the popular vice principal to Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish.

The archdiocese responded with a statement saying they stand by their decision.

In a letter to parents, the archdiocese said that all employees of the private school are required to sign an agreement that their public behaviors would at all times be consistent with the values and teachings of the Catholic Church.