PHILADELPHIA — Administrators at a Catholic high school faced a sharp backlash this week after firing a well-liked teacher who sought to marry his same-sex partner.
Educators said they had no choice, but thousands have protested the move through Facebook groups and petitions demanding that Michael Griffin be rehired at Holy Ghost Preparatory School. Some alumni have pledged to withhold financial support.
Caught in the middle are people who say Griffin should have known he was jeopardizing his job by publicizing his plan to wed, as well as those who worry the negative publicity is unfair.
‘‘It is a shame that the students and faculty are being painted a certain way, because it is apparent with the amount of support Mr. Griffin has received, this is not the popular mentality,’’ said 2012 alum Rob Blackwell.
Griffin and his partner live in New Jersey, where gay marriage is legal. Same-sex unions are not sanctioned under church teachings, which Griffin was required to uphold as a condition of his employment.