St. Mary band director fired for gay wedding plans

Alissa Widman Neese
Jan 11, 2014


Sandusky Central Catholic School forced its band and choir director to resign this week, shortly after officials learned he and his boyfriend recently became engaged to be married.
Brian Panetta, who is in his fifth year of employment, initially received a letter of termination Jan. 3, which stated he was fired for violating the moral and religious teachings of the Catholic Church.

This letter came just hours after Panetta approached the school’s president about his engagement, to discuss if an end-of-the-year resignation would help avoid any conflicts concerning his gay relationship, he said.

On Thursday, however, Panetta met with school administrators, a priest and representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, who offered more information and agreed he could resign instead of having a termination on his record, he said.    

“I’m satisfied with their explanation, and right now I’m just praying for understanding and strength,” Panetta said. “It’s hard for me to walk away, but it’s what’s best for me personally, and I hope my students will understand that.”

Panetta and his fiancé, Nathan David, started dating while attending the University of Dayton five years ago. They plan to wed in July 2015.

Their relationship wasn’t a secret to the Sandusky Central Catholic School community, as David often attended school events and met several students and their families, Panetta said.

“This community has been like a family to me, and I’ve always had nothing but support,” Panetta said. “I never had to hide.”

After David popped the question on Christmas Day, however, Panetta said he knew things could get complicated.

All Sandusky Central Catholic School employees must sign a contract stating they will live a lifestyle according to the Catholic faith, he said.

“I knew if we ever wanted to get married, it would limit my time teaching at the school I love,” Panetta said. “When I met with the diocese, they basically told me my engagement is a public statement of my support for equality for gay marriage, which the Catholic Church does not support.”

Panetta identifies as Catholic and attended Catholic school for grades K-12. He said working at Sandusky Central Catholic School was an ideal first job.

In his four and a half years working there, Panetta grew the school’s band from 18 to about 50 members, and also produced similar numbers for its choir. He oversaw band for grades 5-12 and choir for grades 7-12.

Panetta said he still doesn’t feel his work is done, but he understands why he is no longer permitted to work at the school. After Thursday’s resignation agreement, he said he feels he is stepping down with the school’s support.

He distributed a letter to the school community Friday that announced his resignation and his engagement to David, in which he called himself a “proud and gay Catholic”

“The hardest part was not getting to speak to (my students) about it, so I’m thankful for that opportunity,” Panetta said. “Everyone knows about my lifestyle, and I always thought the best way to handle this was to be upfront, honest and proactive. I just wanted to provide clarity about this situation”

It’s unknown who will take over Panetta’s job, as students resumed classes Thursday after winter break extended three extra days because of bad weather.

After the Register left a message for Sandusky Central Catholic School president Melody Curtis on Wednesday, she responded within minutes with an emailed statement.

“Mr. Panetta is no longer employed at Sandusky Central Catholic School,” the statement said. “We do not discuss personnel situations with the media.”

Two days later, however, she emailed a revised statement, which she also distributed to the school community.

“It is with great sadness that we extend to you that Mr. Brian Panetta has resigned his position today as director and coordinator of music at Sandusky Central Catholic School,” it said. “Although parting ways is never easy, especially in the midst of a school year, we would like to thank Mr. Panetta for his devotion and service to the school, and the gifts and talents he brought to the music program.”

The statement also provided a link to Panetta’s letter, both of which will be available on the Register’s website.

The school hired Curtis as president this past summer after adopting the president-principal administrative model for the first time. She was previously executive director of Monroe Catholic Elementary Schools in Monroe, Mich., and has almost 15 years of experience in Catholic education.

Sally Oberski, director of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, which oversees Catholic schools in Northwest Ohio, said she couldn’t offer any additional comments about the situation when contacted Thursday.

A Catholic school’s decisions involving personnel are “local decisions,” and the diocese’s role is simply to be available for consultation if the school desires it, Oberski said.

“The school has a governing board, a president and a principal, and it’s a local decision,” Oberski said. “There’s nothing more I can tell you than what the local leadership has told you.”

Because Sandusky Central Catholic School is not funded by taxpayer dollars, it is not required to release personnel files or other documents to the Register.

Click here to read letter from school's director

Click here to read letter from Panetta to students

Click here to visit Brian Panetta's website



I guess someone got a few swirlies while attending SMCC. While you're telling people not to stew in hate and intolerance, you might take a couple glances in your bathroom mirror.


Are you one of the ones that had daddy write those checks Gyro???


1. SMCC was not forced to let him go. Without rebellion, we would still have slavery. This is an injustice.

2. Acceptance and love were far from offered. When a man is let go for his sexual orientation and a plethora support SMCC, they are not showing love for a "brother." They are tearing a man apart for his 'God-given attraction' to other men. Note: Psalm 139.

Finally, the government should cut off any tax break to this institution for it is not ACCEPT everyone.


You are right especially about #1. What would the Toledo Diocese have done if the church, the school, the administrators stood in support of Mr. Panetta. The diocese counts on their parishoners accomodating their demands.

That being said, I used to be catholic. These kinds of things are why I left. The moral code and values represented by the church no longer reflect my values.


You are a very well spoken, intelligent student. Be proud of yourself.




This was a very very tough and upsetting decision on both sides. But the Toledo Diocese made the call per their contract. Ms. Curtis I believe did what she could to make it work out. Mr. Panetta was allowed to resign with respect and hold his head high. I am proud of the school for sending the email out including the letter from Brian to us all. It showed the respect they had for him.

We are going to miss him. It is very difficult to explain to the younger children the reasons why he is no longer there.

Unfortunately, this internal communication to parents and children should never have hit the paper, now we have a few hundred younger children very confused who are not mature enough to understand.

There is no cover up, and I applaud that the email was sent to the student families , and the letter from Brian attached for us to read.

Mr. Panetta is very loved by us all and gifted..he truly does belong in another more progressive school for the arts. SMCC has feared his leaving for years. He has such talent and is wonderful with the children in developing a true love for music. Good luck Brian.....

Please everyone think before commenting on this and I would hope the SR takes into account the youth before doing any further damage to this man and also to the children who loved him so much.

The Answer Person

Oh spare us...


YES! If you are Mr. Panetta or the grieving students!

The Answer Person

So are you saying, "Your kind is not wanted here."?


He didn't say that at all. You really need to work on your basic comprehension skills.


The recovering Catholic comment is old and lame. Bashing this school is lame. Those of you not involved and are here to push you're liberal agenda get lost. I have not been a supporter of gay marriage but when this happened it was a wake up call, those of you who are radical gays and gay supporters are ruining your cause with your ever divisive and insensitive rhetoric. So stop, now. Brian Panetta has to be one of the most wonderful, loving young men I have ever known, he took a rag tag school band and turned it into performers. The kids adore him, they will do anything for him, he cannot be replaced. This decision is NOT in the best interest of the students and should be reversed immediately. We want Brian back. BRING BRIAN BACK.

The Bizness

But this is a great example of why younger Catholics don't go to church. I am not bashing SMCC, I just think that this type of thing shouldn't effect employment. I also think the church has every right to do this, and I think they made the wrong decision here.


Had Mr. Panetta been, say a football coach who had revived a failing football program , the school would have looked the other way.


lol DC!!


Sugar, this is viral way to stop it. Hope you look your best when CNN shows up!


DC, look up Rev. Varney. Or do you remember that?


Dick, I left Sandusky in early 80s. Not familiar with him.


St. Mary Central Catholic is an eyesore to the state of Ohio after this terrible turn of events. Denying a man employment because of his sexual orientation is unconstitutional. Whatever the binding contract states, the government contributes tax breaks to all churches. If that church does not offer inclusion in employment to a person for being homosexual, then the government should no longer offer them anything. SMCC displayed a pathetic case of group think and cognitive dissonance to complement manipulation of the Bible in regards to serving self interests of man by removing this man from his occupation.

SMCC, what a shame.


It's not yet against either the Constitution of the US or of Ohio, mainly because people like Boehner (and 85%+ of the population) think the LGBT communities are already covered by EHEA or ENDA...

And that's exactly why we need them!


St. Mary Central Catholic, a homophobic institution to spread propaganda to students about what is morally right and wrong.

You are on the wrong side of history.


Bring Brian Back!
Bring Brian Back
Bring Brian BAck!


Bring Brian Back!
Bring Brian Back
Bring Brian BAck!


Stayfit that will not help. We want him back, stop with the nastiness that won't work.


SMCC Student:

Your post was, by far, the most mature response posted. Be very proud.

Brian Panetta's sexuality and homosexual relationship was none of my child's business. Unfortunately, my child knew about Brian Panetta's sexuality and engagement to a man. It is a Catholic school. What do you people expect?


Love? Tolerance? Fairness?

J. Hartman

While I am not an advocate and nor do I support same sex marriage, I do firmly believe if two people love and care for each other, who are we to judge? I have never met either of these two people in question, but I understand the band/choir director was hired to a job and in those 5 years has done it well and the students have benefited from his knowledge. In my opinion,the Catholic Church seems to forget about the MULTIPLE "Leaders" of their church, that resulted in many lawsuits and denial on their part to cover up all of the pedophiles not to mention those "leaders" took an oath to live as a simple person tn regards to material things. I'm sorry, but a Rolex watch and a Mercedes Benz doesn't fit that description. I am not saying all fit this category and religion is a good thing as it builds character, values, and a moral foundation, but when the church leaders tell you to do one thing as they do another, uumm something isn't right there. I was raised in a Lutheran Church and I consider myself spiritual as opposed to claiming a certain religion. Just as in politics, as soon as you claim a certain party, you allow them to make decisions for you. I do believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, but I don't need a mass of people, a building, or anything else to tell me that. I believe the Native Americans, even though it's not considered a religion, are the closest to getting it right with their beliefs and code of ethics.(Creator) I would also point to the last pope's sudden retirement/resignation? as an example. Just like North Korea and Iran were brushed under the rug by the mainstream media. IDK, maybe because there were just a few things that have been covered up and he took part or had knowledge? Keep passing that collection plate, the truth always will come out in the end. People ask why the churches have diminished in numbers, very simple. They don't practice what they preach. Not grouping everyone in that category, but how do you damn people when the institution allows it, turns a blind eye, and has the money to pay off those with legitimate claims? I'm also not just referring to the Catholic Church specifically, but all religions. If I remember correctly from Bible Study, one of the 10 commandments is "Thou shall not kill" but daily we kill in the name of? I don't get it, just as I don't get politics, but you DON'T kill anyone unless your life is threatened. It's a very simple concept, the Golden Rule, whether you agree with ones lifestyle or not, you still treat them as you wish to be treated. Again, I am not for same sex marriage, but I do believe that is a personal choice and not my place to judge how one lives their life. I do find it odd the hypocrisy and I also agree with whoever stated above about the adultery/divorces which are for some reason not touched or refrained from conversation, but it was ok for decades of child abuse to take place and covered up? None of us are perfect, but unless someone's breaking the law, harming you, or a loved one, let them live their life and be happy with who they are. By the way, Christianity has been around for what 2500 years or something like that? So everyone prior to the Old Testament is now burning in purgatory? Just my opinion and before you mention my resolution for the New Year Fireside, this is one which needed to be commented on.

Pterocarya frax...

J. Hartman...I often agree with you, or at least am able to follow and respect your thought process, but I am struggling with a couple of your comments here. You keep saying it is not for you to judge, and it is a personal choice, and you mention the golden rule. But you then twice say you don't support same sex marriage.

Those thoughts don't seem congruous. Am I missing something?

J. Hartman

I apologize and I do at times speak in circles, but when you hit send, it is what it is. I will attempt to clarify. I personally don't understand the same sex relationships. I do have many friends who are involved in a same sex relationships. They know it's a subject I don't comprehend, but I don't shun them for who they wish to date nor do I think any less of them for their preference. I guess it can be best summoned up as we agree to disagree on that topic. That may not have cleared anything up for you, but it is possible to disagree with someone and support them at the same time. I don't believe this man should have lost his job over who he chooses as a partner. Like I said, I may not have put the proper wording together on the original comments, but it is possible to disagree with someone and support them at the same time. I do support them to be left alone and live their lives. Just like free speech. I may completely disagree with another person and their viewpoint, but on the flip side I will defend and support anyone to take advantage of that amendment.(while it still exists) PS, this dialogue makes us all better as we discuss topics that may be slightly touchy and can come to understand the viewpoint of others. S.M.I.L.E.

Teeter's picture

I usually don't comment but, this is so egregious and outrageous i could not help myself. First, I see a petition in someone's future as well it should be....this dialogue is long overdue.

Does anyone else see a problem with the services of Mr. Panetta being perfectly acceptable up UNTIL he became engaged? The Church can't have it both ways -- either the lifestyle choice is accepted in totality or it is not -- that's the rub. The issue really should be just as much about the double standard as intolerance. "No choice..." My Aunt Fanny, that's horse crap, we all have choices. How about standing up for someone because it's the right thing to do? What lesson are the students learning here? Homosexuality is ok as long as marriage isn't involved? So it's ok to live together, just don't get married? Really? Here's a thought, let's teach our young people to stand for something lest they fall for anything, let's teach them to be tolerant and accepting showing love and God's grace and to stand up for someone in the face of adversity.

You cannot "love" someone without accepting who and what they are, Jesus did that for each and every one of us and proved it by giving his life at Calvary. Seems as though I read that I remember.....John 3:16 and I don't remember reading "except gays" (or anyone else for that matter) in that passage.

May God have mercy on the bigoted, selfish, intolerant people that we proved every single day we are.

Diedre Cole

Julie R.

@Teeter/Diedre Cole: Best comment.


I'm thinking about posting a petition later this evening, if I can get my thoughts put together on how it should be worded. If anyone from around here wants to help me with it, fire me a message or something...

I've seen this happen in a few other places in Ohio, most notably Columbus, but this one, as someone who lives in this area, seems to be firing me up a bit more...


There is case in Seattle where a beloved principal was fired for getting legally married to a person of the same sex. But get this, this is the shocking part: the school told him he could say if only he divorced his spouse....


Saw that a couple days ago...these cases are getting quite a bit of traction, and all for the better, I say... :)


If you are a teacher at a school that is run by the Catholic church. Think about it you must know what is going to happen. It don't matter if someone thinks it is right or wrong you know it's going to happen.


Come on, everybody. This is about a CONTRACT!

Most of us sign some sort of a contract when we're employed. People are fired (or not hired) because they fail a drug test. IT'S IN THE CONTRACT! People are fired because they fail to perform (or perform adequately) the job duties IN THE CONTRACT! In this case, there was a morals clause IN THE CONTRACT.

I'm not suggesting that Mr. Panetta is either an especially good or an especially bad man because he happens to be gay and was lucky enough to love someone enough to want to marry him. All that I'm saying is that certain conditions, prohibitions, etc. were IN HIS CONTRACT, and he violated it. I would assume Panetta actually READ the contract before signing it...

Freedom of religion, WITHOUT government coercion, is in the Constitution. That means some religions believe certain things that others of us don't, and that they're free to do so. In some cases, it means that playing cards or dancing is sinful. In other cases, it means that driving a car or owning an XBox is against the rules. I don't agree with those things, either. But then, I'm not a member of those faiths.

Panetta chose his church. He chose his job. And he ALSO chose to violate his contract. Is it unfortunate? Yes. But it's not up to ANY of us to demand that the Catholic Church violate the contract in turn, OR that it make an exception to what some consider a core belief.

Mr. Panetta, I'm sorry you're dealing with this, and I truly believe that this is St. Mary's loss. But I respectfully suggest that you seek employment elsewhere, preferably some institution that appreciates and respects you for your talents, and you for who you are. And I respectfully suggest the REST of you offer St. Mary's the same courtesy!


Does anyone have a copy of the contract which spells out these actions and resulting actions?

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

Private schools aren't required to release documents to the Register or anyone, because they're not public records. But I do reference the existence of a contract in the full story in today's Register.


There are 3-4 cases in Ohio in the last couple years. The court ruled on the side of the Catholic Dioceses in those areas. It is a standard contract which everyone signs when they are employed and I believe they need to renew every year.

Not all of the cases involved this exact scenario.

None the less a contract is a contract...the situation is very sad. Brian will be missed , but I was very surprised the school even allowed his letter to be sent to all. And I applaud them for doing this, and bringing out the true reason for his departure and stopping speculation. This allowed him to leave with his head high and respect as many have already commented on.

I wish they could bring him back. It is a contract with the Toledo Diocese. It is not SMCC, they wanted him to be able to stay.

So send your comments to the Diocese, or get involved with a committee for change who are working directly with the Vatican, similar to the group who are asking for women to be ordained as priests, and many other groups.

Personally, I feel that since this has come to light that there are a handful of other staff who need to be released for violating the same contract. You have to treat equally if you are enforcing the contract now.


I understand it is in his contract, but 5 years later? He and his partner had attended numerous events together and it was known he was in a relationship, why do this now? Because he formally announced his intention to marry? Has anyone also remembered we have not overturned the marriage act and Ohio doesn't have to legally acknowledge a same sex marriage as a civil union in this state? Ago, whether his intention are to marry, he still can't-so legally that is a moot point!

thinkagain's picture

Changing societal standards brought about by moral relativists, have championed this lifestyle.

Jesus never compromised on the moral law. Neither should we.

Men lusting for other men or women lusting for other women are not the natural affections God created men and women to have for one another.

Marriage is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman. The idea of two homosexuals marrying is an offense to the God who created marriage.

God demands righteousness and morality, but rather than give up your disobedience, you’re content to follow the wide path that leads to destruction.

If the church stops judging, we will no longer be able to distinguish good from evil, we will buy into the politically correct idea of moral relativism, and we will bow down to the devil’s wishes to deceive us.

Truth is hate to those who hate truth.


Take the church and leave it where it belongs: we have no need for your moral pretense in our legislature, and that's *exactly* where religious groups would most rather this sort of idea lead.

When, if memory serves, 85% of the public already feels that we have protections in place against workplace discrimination against LGBT persons (and, also, when nearly 40% of LGB persons and 80% of trans persons) are experiencing harassment and discrimination on the job...

We're failing as a culture, and it sure as heck ain't the LGBT community's fault...besides, how can we both be so powerful as to shape culture AND be discriminated against in such high levels? Right-wing cognitive dissonance?


I was wondering when you would start your b.s., such a BIGOT. If there is a hell, you will be there for sure.


If the Pope says "who am I to judge", how dare the bigots at St. Mary's judge. DESPICABLE!!!

Pure good love is better than toxic love and all the affairs that are OKAY. Makes my skin crawl....

JMOP's picture

The Pope is not God, nor would Pope Francis marry a gay couple. Why? The Pope wouldn't go against the Bible.


What a sad, outright demonstration of bigotry on the school's part. Also, un-Christian. No wonder 12 percent of Americans are former Catholics. Run in the other direction!


Once again, proof positive why I am & will remain ATHIEST! What hypocrites.

William Jeffers...

If I were a woman, I would be a lesbian. It's not a "choice"; we are born the way we are and we need to accept everyone in that light.

Peninsula Pundit

It's not a 'choice' for pedophiles, rapists, etc, either.
They're born that way, as well. Almost all wish it weren't so.
There is no difference.
Have fun 'accepting' them.




If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (NKJ, Leviticus 20:13)

Does anyone really need to praddle on about Jesus and love and how he would have accepted the sodomites. If God's own words commanded his followers to put gays to death would Jesus follow his father's words or try to appease modern people that want to revise and invalidate the Bible and reduce it's authority to the unnatural desires of decadent perverts.

Matt Westerhold

Wow.  What a horrible and ugly point of view. 

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Is that verse in the bible? Yes. While the last part of his comment is a bit misworded he has a valid point. Would jesus go against his own fathers word and accept gays? Does it say in the bible that if god denies gays jesus would deny his father? No! The problem ive always had with people of faith....sounds pc..... is they cherry pick bible verses to fit situations. How about the verse that forces women to marry their rapist? You cant have it both ways. You either follow the good book or you dont. If you dont follow it your not being a true follower of gods word. No where in the bible does it say once society is modern the old testament no longer applies. In fact you can find several conflicting opinions on old testament relativity in the new testament. Mind you im not a religious person but I respect the churches right to fire someone who goes against their teachings. I also respect panettas choice to be engaged to a man. The church will ultimately become irrelevant if it stays the course on this issue. That's a fact! As the older people leave/pass away, the church will be forced to change or young people will turn their backs on it.

thinkagain's picture

A biblical illiterate runs amok once again. Have no fear, thinkagain is here.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 can be viewed as merciful to the woman, who, because of the loss of virginity, would be considered unmarriable. In that culture, a woman without a husband would have a very difficult time providing for herself. Unmarried women often had no choice but to sell themselves into slavery or prostitution just to survive.

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Again cherry picking

thinkagain's picture

It was your cherry…

J. Hartman

lol, ok, that was damn funny!

Bottom Line

Matt, I couldn't possibly have any less respect for you. Constantly pushing your own personal agenda.


What's wrong, Matt? Political correctness run amuck allowed, but no religious beliefs without being condemned?

You're the one who clearly thinks this story was appropriate. Bashing the Catholic church and school to sensationalize this occurrence for sales and hits. Such a shame. People have been fired for other reasons that do not coincide with the churches teachings. WHERE'S YOUR STORY ABOUT THEM?

Privately funded religious organization. Get over it.


@cocky Spoken like a true Catholic!

They want all of their dirty laundry swept under the rug!

Put on your rose colored glasses, don't look, don't tell, ignore the problem! (send the priest to a different school, don't tell the police)

Blame Matt for your churches Neanderthal thinking?


So true!

The Answer Person

You go to the Sandusky Church of the Nazarene, right?


What a tool.


,Ok, so let me get this straight-the majority of you are referencing the commandments that are laid out in the Old Testament, that it is immoralimmorally wrong for homosexuals to be together, etc. You quote Leviticus and some other Books, etc.and as we all know, the 10 commandments. Ok, so here it goes. ANYTHING in the Old Testament is considered to be Mosaic Law, in other words,a contractual offering to the Jews from God.The sacrifices, burnt offerings, etc.we not meant for the Gentle and later for the Jews who believed Christ was Lord.Any and all prior to Jesus being crucified was negated at the point of death by Him. As we learned in Bible Study, He was our ultimate sacrifice.So, during the time He preached, He was asked what is the greatest commandment that should be followed? His reply? Love thy neighbor as yourself, true? Paul, Matthew and John later wrote books and letter stating Castro's other ideals but for those of you that are TRUE Christians,I think you need to read your Bibles again, with a pure heart and with the Holy Spirit residing in you, because what I'm reading from the so-called Christian community being represented on here,you are only repeating what you have been told,Westbury Westboro Baptist Church,anyone? And, another thing.To equate takes in prisons to a homosexual lifestyle is disgusting. That's like equating being raped inn the street as a sexual thing, as opposed to a act of control, oppression and brutality, which is what it is.There are numerous people incarcerated who do not engage in these acts to fulfill sexual needs and to state otherwise is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.


Ignorance abounds in Sandusky.


No sure if your comment of ignorance is in reference towards me,but I can assure you,I'm far from being ignorant. And it's really a shame,because I actually agreed to quite a few of you viewpoints you made.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

What does Mrs F...

If "violating the moral and religious teachings of the Catholic Church" is such a concern, then how come Brian's "devotion and service to the school and the gifts and talents he brought to the music program" was so graciously accepted and promoted for 4 1/2 years even though SMCC knew about Brian's relationship with Nathan?
What a loss for the students and Brian!


It costs a lot of money to attend this school, we want the best available instructors, Brian's shoes cannot be filled.

yea right

this is why churches are dead..only the weak minded go and get told how to live their own lives..
as along as you know your right with whom ever you pray too.. then you are fine..but when you are weak and have to be told by a selfcentered one sided cult..then there is no hope for you until you can break free ..


Good point.


He did resign, resign or be fired type of deal? So much for equal opportunity. Religion versus Federal law. The discrimination laws get a little confusing at times.


I read both the gentleman's resignation and the schools. I also read the article and headline. Was this an involuntary termination or resignation? Was he forced to quit or did he resign?

Matt Westerhold

It's my understanding he offered his resignation to be effective at the end of the current school year, but was fired on the same day. He was later offered the opportunity to immediately resign, or the termination would simply stand, so he opted to resign. So, it would seem he was both fired, and he resigned. 


Homosexuality is wrong. In God's eyes' and in the Church's eyes. The liberal push to get it accepted frankly sickens me. ''Be tolerant of homosexuals while they're totally intolerant of Christianity.'' What hypocrisy. ''You must accept what we believe ( homosexuality) while we tromp all over the things ( Christianity and the Word of God) that you believe.'' Makes me want to throw up. What a mess this nation is in. I believe it's because we've forgotten God.


I absolutely agree.


Then don't do it, but leave us alone...

Kinda like we leave the hetero community (?) alone to do what it long as everything's consensual!

The Bizness

You have no idea what God thinks. Not a single mortal does!


observer, feel free to thow up. People like you make me sick.


Feel free to throw up.


Good for you St. Mary's, why is it that if a non-christian organization slams, criticizes or demands for change on Christian based ideas it is okay and the people are all for it, but when a Christian organization stands up for their beliefs and rights it is not okay, What Hypocrite's you all are in condemning this Christian based organization, The Catholic Church. Obviously you don't read nor believe in the Bible that is in your home or probably packed away and never used. Read Romans 1:26 - 32. If you don't belief in the Bible or God then don't ask for help in time of need, because you would be a hypocrite in that. Joshua 24: 15 says " and if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But for me and my house we will serve the Lord". No compromise, no surrender, I will not bow down to the failed beliefs of a Godless nation and the those who believe that it is okay to take things in and out of the Bible to use for their own beliefs. When it is all said and done, if I am wrong in my beliefs and my faith and my RELATIONSHIP in Jesus nothing happens to me when I leave this earthly body and place, however for those who don't believe in Heaven and Judgement and what the Word/Bible says and Jesus proclaims then when you leave this earthly place and body you will not be going to a reward of spending time with the ONE and ONLY TRUE GOD, you will be spending time in the most horrible place you can't even imagine for eternity. I am not perfect and never said nor say I am and I will be judged for those things I have not repented of or asked for forgiveness for but I know where I am going and it is with my Saviour and LORD, Jesus Christ in Heaven.


Well said! Amen!


Concernedtruth, I am not a Christian and it's good to know that I shouldn't come to your church if I am ever in need. If you or any of your fellow church constituents are in need, though, please don't hesitate to come to me for a helping hand. I'm always willing to help where I can no matter what your religious beliefs are. I'm right on Schenk Road.

Pterocarya frax...

I suspect that many non Christians such as yourself live their lives in a more "Christian" like manner than many that loudly proclaim their Christianity. The proof is in the comments on this story.




It's not about allowing them in my church or any church, you misread or understood what I said, I as a Christian stand on God's word that says homosexuality is wrong. I did not say nor would say I would not "allow" a homosexual in church and I have no right nor would I do that. All people are God's creatures and All people are loved by God. We are all sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. Your misunderstanding of my post is that I am a hater of homosexuals and that is not true, I do not agree with their lifestyle, but still believe they as any person has the right to God's Grace and Love. One more thing, you must of forgotten the area where I said that I have homosexual friends and they appreciate my truthfulness and honesty and to this day I would welcome them as anyone in my home or in my church. Please don't condemn what you don't understand.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.


One last thing for all those thinking I am bashing the homosexuals, I have and still have a number of friends that are homosexual, I do not and have not ever hated them. They understand my stance and my beliefs about homosexuality and I have prayed for them and have always had a good working relationship with them and they also know I don't agree with their lifestyle but I will always consider them a friend.


I'll pray for you?

We don't WANT or NEED it: that's nothing more than the "moral disapprobation" that was discussed in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) and Bowers v. Hardwick (1996), and the courts didn't side with you then, and I doubt they'd side with you on that idea now...


Will try to get something posted on today or tomorrow, at latest...the only thing I'm concerned about is that, as a former Willard student, I'm not sure I'm the best conduit for the ideas that would best be expressed in the petition. Does anyone else have examples that they could maybe share or some things that could make it easier to craft the petition?


Please do I will sign it!


Sorry it took so long: wasn't home for a day-and-a-half and was forced to craft a first draft of it on my Nintendo 2DS, of all things! (Ha!)

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Pray away the gay right?


We should be careful to mind our prejudices, they often lead to hypocrisy. Why are teachers committing adultery at the school not fired? Why are divorced teachers not fired? What about all of the pre-marital sex that is going on (students, staff, and teachers)? That is just at the school and does not get into sexual predator clergy members whose crimes are hidden and forgiven. It seems that the distinction between “being offended” and actually “doing harm” are not very clear cut within the Catholic religion and at the school/local level.

The distinction is *doing harm to others*. Sexually exploiting minors, animals, and/or non-consenting adults is the physical action of doing harm. It is non-consensual. Conversely, consenting adults entering into a relationship harms no one.

I feel that teaching youth to be hypocrites, bullies, and to perpetuate bigotry based upon personal/religious judgments is FAR more dangerous than teaching them about being in loving, healthy relationships, regardless of gender.

I wish the best to Mr. Panetta and his fiance. They deserve better than Sandusky Central Catholic School.


@MBR +1 Agree!

everyday joe

As unfortunate as his firing is, it had to be done. He SIGNED a contract for employment, and violated it. Bringing him back with a petition or outcry from parents will only teach kids that if you whine long and loud enough, you get your way even if you did something wrong (violating the contract). Not sure I want to teach my child that. Even if SMCC was ok with Brian's choice of lifestyle and did nothing, people would be on here complaining that the school wasn't following the Bible's teachings. Not going to make everyone happy in this situation. Kids/teenagers are confused enough without throwing this at them too. They go to a Catholic school that teaches what is in the BIBLE. His lifestyle is clearly not acceptable by those teachings, so why confuse them anymore by allowing him to stay? Some of you say fairness, diversity, etc., but that isn't what is in black in white in the Bible. SMCC is run on the teachings in the Bible, and his lifestyle choice simply isn't accepted plain and simple. Whether you believe that is right or wrong, they have an obligation to uphold those beliefs...

If Brian is as talented as everyone is saying, he wont have a problem finding employment elsewhere.


Everyone knew he was gay and not one person ever complained, everyone accepted him with loving open arms. Your position is moot.


EDITED: Removed and moved up a couple comment threads.


There was a significant court ruling against the Diocese of Toledo in the year 2000 regarding their refusal to consistently enforce their morality clauses. It involved St. Paul High School and their termination of a married pregnant woman. Basically, the priest "did the math" and determined she was pregnant at the time of her wedding. She sued and prevailed because there were other people who taught or were staff at the school/parish who were not held to the same standard. I believe that the court ruled that it represented discrimination based on pregnancy status and gender. I don't know that this would apply in this case because I don't know if homosexuality is a protected class. Nonetheless, it is interesting that the court ruled that the diocese did not consistently enforce their morality clauses. This case has been a significant case in discrimination law.

Common Sense

Irony of this case: When the woman was attending the required pre-marital counseling as stated by the Church, she was asked if she was "with child". She lied about the situation and she wins a court case. Brian was honest and he is released. If he had not shared his engagement, would he have been permitted to remain on until the end of the school year?
How do I know about this case? The woman told her co-workers way too much prior to her marriage.


LGBT status isn't protected yet: that's what we're working on with these new marriage-equality cases, as well as the push for EHEA and ENDA, and if we can get bumped up into the "protected class" status, it'll make it nigh-impossible for marriage-inequality to stand in the laws.


I think a few of you are misinterpreting Pope Francis's remarks regarding gay marriage. In no way is he supporting gay marriage. Rather, he is reminding all people that we are called to love everyone as brothers and sisters in Christ. His "who am I to judge?" is regarding those who have homosexual urges and continue to uphold the truth set forth by the Church (i.e., abstaining from homosexual activities). Secular America has the incorrect understanding that because people such as Mr. Panetta choose to enter a gay marriage and are fired from private institutions that we are bigots and "hate" gays, which couldn't be further from the truth. I'm not saying that is true for all Catholics since we as humans are an imperfect race, but don't generalize the Church and its people based on remarks from one sample. I know plenty of great Catholics who have gay friends and family members, and they love them all the same.

I did not know Mr. Panetta, but judging from most of the comments here and his letter, I'd say he was an outstanding individual and any school would be lucky to have him in the music program. I have great respect for his professional conduct in leaving SCCS and wish him all the best in future endeavors.

The Bizness

I completely understand pope Francis wasn't changing dogma with that statement, but it should help change what language is in future contracts for Catholic institutions.


Change how? Regardless of how anyone wants it to be presented, Mr. Panetta was going to be fired one way or another. A Catholic institution isn't going to allow any gay married man or woman to teach within the walls of a building that is opposed to gay marriage. It's simply enforcement of religious teachings.

The New World Czar

Let's see...employee admits change in relationship to superior knowing that it is in violation of contract and is let go for assumed violation and acknowledges that it would probably happen. Seems very cut and dry.

Give it a little time and Mr. Holder and the DOJ will be filing suit against SMCC and the Toledo Archdiocese over this. They're doing their best to undermine the state of Utah, so why not take it a step further?

When you sign a contract or set a law, then it is what it is.


The diocese has already had a ruling against them in 2000 for not consistently enforcing the morality clause of their employment contract. I don't think it would apply here because as far as I know homosexuality is not considered a protected class but it is interesting.


Judge not least ye be judged. Or in the case of the Catholic Church...People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!


JMOP says "For the people that say times have changed, The Lord and his word stand the test of time. No amount of time can take away the truth."

Please give your interpretation of God's endorsement of slavery in the Bible versus the abolition of slavery in civilized countries. Did human beings violate God's word by abolishing slavery?


Where in the Bible does God endorse slavery? Pretty sure, slavery is an evil practice that men created.

Also, in case you haven't noticed human trafficking (slavery) of girls and young women principally is very much alive and well in the United States and worldwide. But then maybe girls and women have no worth to men such as yourself?


You've got to be kidding me that you are so ignorant of the Bible. Try Leviticus 25:44-46 and Exodus 21:20-21, for starters. Go to this Web site for more examples:

The point I'm trying to make is that as humanity evolves, it disregards the practices that are inhumane or outdated. Slavery is one of them and same-sex marriage (despite the howls of protest from some) is another.


You are citing Old Testament laws that are part of the Mosaic Code. Christians are not bound to these laws but to the directives of Jesus Christ. If you have a quarrel with Mosaic law direct it to Talmudic Scholars and Rabbis.

Again, slavery still exists in today's world and it consists primarily of the exploitation of women and girls for forced labor or sexual servitude. But maybe you don't have a problem with it because females are of no value to you and you fear the power of life within them.


When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

That's old testament. Here's a new testament example:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)


Again the New Testament passage does not indicate that God created the institution of slavery but that slavery is the result of man's free will. The verse from Ephesians is consistent with Christian teaching that we are to be obedient to people in positions of authority over us and that we each have a "cross to bear" and are tested daily.

I find it interesting that no one has commented on the existence of slavery today (human trafficking) or the fact that in the last few days there have been stories of men preying on young girls and getting as little as six months in prison.


There is no story here, he signed a contract he violated that contract. Not that hard to understand.

Bottom Line

Exactly right. That's all this boils down to.

John Harville

Does that happen/has that happened in EVERY contract violation in Sandusky Catholic schools?
Public records hold the real answers.
Maybe it's time to launch an investigation into ALL employees of Sandusky Catholic churches and schools.
THE STORY HERE is that one upright man told the truth...

John Harville

Maybe it's time to name names?

Coram Deo

For those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality here is a wonderful book by Christopher Yuan called "Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God; A Broken Mothers Search for Hope". It is his journey to holy sexuality. He also has a Facebook page and a website.


A short synopsis:
Coming Out, Then Coming Home

Christopher Yuan, the son of Chinese immigrants, discovered at an early age that he was different. He was attracted to other boys. As he grew into adulthood, his mother, Angela, hoped to control the situation. Instead, she found that her son and her life were spiraling out of control—and her own personal demons were determined to defeat her.

Years of heartbreak, confusion, and prayer followed before the Yuans found a place of complete surrender, which is God’s desire for all families. Their amazing story, told from the perspectives of both mother and son, offers hope for anyone affected by homosexuality.

God calls all who are lost to come home to him. Casting a compelling vision for holy sexuality, Out of a Far Country speaks to prodigals, parents of prodigals, and those wanting to minister to the gay community.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” - Luke 15:20

Includes a discussion guide for personal reflection and group use.

John Harville

This kind of garbage has been debunked - repeatedly.
The book is a story of restoration of understanding between a mother and a son whom she couldn't accept - her version of the Prodigal Son story.

John Harville

CORAM DEO... "In the presence of God". Is this your exclusive standing or are you part of the CORAM DEO ACADEMY/ies that focus on selectively teaching the Bible?


rbenn Your one of few on here with common sense! What's so hard to understand here people? He voluntarily applied for a job that doesn't endorse or approve of his sexual lifestyle. does a thief apply for jobs at a bank? Then a homo should have known better than have the Catholic church as his employer! point blank, he was always more than welcomed to leave and find another job but he CHOSE to work at a catholic school and then openly expressed his love for another guy and got fired and you charlatans act surprised and outraged! Btw please prove to me your born gay? It's a learned behavior people! it's so much easier to use the excuse "I was born this way" than to be a big person and resist your evil urges. I have urges and temptations everyday i have to refrain from but I don't use the excuse, I was born this way as a excuse to live a immoral lifestyle. If the majority of you try to have gay sex your conscience is going to let you know it's not right. some obey their moral compass others don't. This man knowingly put himself in this position but it's the churches fault? I'm not catholic, I don't believe in some practices and have to question the catholic church on their deity's and so forth but I just don't understand how people are defending him, He may be a great guy and all but he knew better than this and eventually knew this would occur. HE did it to himself. it also amazes me how the g&l community expects folks to respect their views and opinions but if your the first person to not agree with their "lifestyle" your this and that. It almost compares to a person that cries racism and injustice but when another person of a different race or nationality as them does or says something they don't like the racist words start to fly back but yet there they were crying and doing the same things as there racist counter parts.

John Harville

Wow. HURON GUY. How long did it take to compile so much bigotry in one space? Even your own language ('homo') exposes your hatred and bigotry.
Sources at SMCC - even the article - note the Church/School was NOT unaware of his 'status' virtually the whole time he taught there and never took any action. Only when he decided to commit to marriage - currently not recognized in Ohio - the LOCAL church (not the Diocese or Vatican) decided to take action.
IF a heterosexual employee gets engaged with a similar wedding date, does the Church conclude there is no premarital sexual activity.
FINALLY, oh great understander... where does it say this has been a sexual relationship? You think homosexuals cannot be in love without being in bed?
Does stupid hurt?


Huron guy, does your wife know???


Just a few verses that show that the Bible should not be used as influence in the government or work place are listed below. Churches create an atmosphere of group think. People are afraid to question motive and authority.

Put to death for not believing in God (Deuteronomy 17:22)
Be a fortune teller, be put to death (Leviticus 20:27)
Cheat on husband or wife, be put to death(Leviticus 20:10)
Sex before marriage, be put to death(Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved CHILDREN." (Hosea 9:11-16 NLT)


All laws from the Old Testament were supplanted by Jesus Christ's Great Commandment:

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said to him, What is written in the law? How do you read it? He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself" He replied to him You have answered correctly do this and you will live"

The Gospel according to Luke Chapter 10 verses 25-28.


Old Testament laws were NOT supplanted by Jesus' "Great Commandment." Certainly, if you DO "love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being..." you'll follow His rules, will you not? You wouldn't want to disappoint Him, would you? In point of fact, in Matthew, Jesus is Himself asked if he had come to change or supplant the laws of the Old Testament, and He answered, "I have not come to change the law, but to fulfill it."

If you haven't read ALL of the Bible, you haven't read it. And if you cherry pick from just the Old or New Testaments, you're not adhering to it.


Correct, Jesus Christ did fulfill the Law as given by God not the law of man (i.e. legalism as practiced by the Pharisees and others). I guess my choice of the word supplant was ill advised.

The Great Commandment is the first of the Ten Commandments which come from God himself. If you put God first you will strive your best not to violate the Ten Commandments and to love your neighbor as yourself. In effect we are called to emulate Jesus Christ in that we are called to live in service to others not for ourselves.

However, the point is St Mary's is a private religious institution and its practices and beliefs are protected by the First Amendment. As you correctly pointed out this entire issue concerns a private contract that was breached and St Mary's had every right to terminate the contract.

What I find ironic is that most of the posters here would not appreciate people who are not members of their "private club" (for example a PAC that advocates for homosexual rights) forcing them to accept as an employee a person who rejects their values. I would be the first to agree and defend that a PAC that works for homosexual rights has the right to fire an employee who does not support their values.


The first amendment does protect freedom of religion allows for the teaching of Biblical contexts, such as a preacher could state the following verse as truth and it is protected: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination (Leviticus 18:22).

It does not protect the institution that discriminates against someone based on sexual orientation.


Are you a lawyer? Legal citation please for your claim that a religious institution cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation.


Using Religion to Discriminate Against LGBT people

In services

In many states, businesses are barred by law from discriminating against customers based on their sexual orientation, as well as based on race, religion, or other legally protected categories. Increasingly, we see business owners claiming that they do not have to follow these laws but can instead refuse to provide services – including lodging, wedding dresses, and photography services – because the owners object to same-sex relationships. In addition, we see social service organizations that receive government funding deny services to same-sex couples. Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs, but when you operate a business or run a publicly funded social service agency open to the public, those beliefs do not give you a right to discriminate (Link:

The Catholic Church receives Federal Funds(Link:


Again please provide a citation applicable to the Church in its hiring decisions in religious affilated teaching jobs. You are citing rules from some other states applicable to for profit businesses and these rules are not relevant to this matter.

John Harville

But then comes John 13:34 (and Luke and Matthew and John 15) during the Last Supper as Jesus was on his way to fulfill his mission:
Luke 13:34 "A NEW COMMANDMENT I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John Harville

Babo: All laws from the Old Testament were supplanted by Jesus Christ's Great Commandment:

REALLY? REALLY? The Ten Commandments are 'laws from the Old Testament'...and then you cite Jesus citing the Old Testament law?

IGNORE BABO... he uses what he chooses from his favorite weapon The Holy Bible. And yet, the False Prophet knows not whereof he speaketh.


How has the band director been shown love?


Its ok to have sex with little boys, but since the priest was not gay that's ok. But be gay and not hurt any children that's wrong?


Anybody trying to judge anybody, whether it's someone who is homosexual or not, is a sin, also. Judgement is by God and God alone. I would MUCH rather see a homosexual couple get married than a priest molest a child. I'm not Catholic, and I do support gay marriage. It's not up to me on who someone loves, besides, we need some more love in this world.


Huronguy, you will burn in hell sooner then Mr. Panetta will. WOW! This man gave his heart and soul to the kids and the Catholic Community. Chances are he is forever gone, but I hope this leads the way for change.

Panther Student

As a student at SMCC, it upsets me to see people talk so poorly about MY school - a school I have attended since kindergarten. My parents pay a significant amount of money for me to attend SMCC, and I am truly blessed with the opportunity to further my education and athletic abilities at such a great school.

On another note, my school does not teach its students to hate gay people. We all absolutely loved Mr. Panetta and still do. My fellow student who commented before me made several valid points on the terms of Mr. Panetta's resignation. With less than 200 students in our high school, we are literally one big family. Inseparable. And this situation, although we are saddened, will only bring us closer together.

Big Momma

YOUR school discriminated against a member of your "family." You should be angry.

Panther Student

It was in his contract. Nonetheless I have the utmost respect for Mr. Panetta. None of us wanted to see him go. The students loved him, we all did. A school would be nothing without it's students, but you have to realize that we had no control over the decision that was made. I am not angry, because Mr. Panetta left in a respectful way - rather I am sad because we lost a great person and it hurts me to see people speak so negatively about a school I happen to love.

J. Hartman

Just seen your last reply after I finished typing my last. Appears you get it, have great role models as parents, and wise beyond your years. You will be just fine!

Panther Student

Thank you. It's very much appreciated.


No, the school didn't discriminate. The school teaches the beliefs of the Church, and the beliefs of the Church concerning homosexuality are quite clear. You'll note that nobody suggested Mr. Panetta be stoned, and that nobody here is saying how much they hated him or how evil he is. Quite the contrary, in fact! But the simple and bottom line fact remains: Mr. Panetta signed a contract. He violated it. The end.

We can debate all day long about whether or not the contract is appropriate (I'd argue that, if you're going to work for a Catholic institution, it's perfectly appropriate whereas an identical contract in the public sector would not be acceptable). What we CAN'T argue is whether the contract, AS IT STANDS, was violated since it clearly was.

J. Hartman

Panther Student, you are definitely blessed to be attending the educational institution you are currently enrolled in. Some of my very best friends have graduated from SMCC, went on to graduate from their respective college/university, and many of those now have their children attend the St Mary's schools. I for sure know the education you are receiving will treat you well now and well into the future. I also believe Mrs. Curtis is a great fit as president presiding over the schools and her hand was probably pushed from those above her. I don't believe anyone can question what you will learn and what you will be equipped with to tackle your future to become anything you desire, as SMCC has some of the very best educators. So, through out your life you will be faced with many obstacles and people who may have a different belief system than you. It is up to you to decide what you feel is important and what path you will travel. In the end, it will come down to your beliefs and what you feel is important. None of us on here are 100% wrong and none of us are 100% right. It's a discussion and I do encourage you to share your thoughts. I do ask you to keep in mind, you will never agree with everyone, but as long as you agree with yourself, you will do just fine! Good luck moving forward and learn all you can.

John Harville

Panther Student... have you ever.... done that Sin of Onan thing the Church says is a sin and an act of abortion?

"It was in his contract?" As an SMCC student since kindergarten you/parents have entered into several contracts. Have you/they lived up to all its provisions? Did you 'know' about Mr. Panetta's lifestyle? If so, you/parents were required by your/their contract to report that situation to the school/church.
It seems to most here that Mr. Panetta was the most honest one here. He could have kept the engagement secret - as other secrets have been kept at SMCC through the years. Other students have stated he never made his relationship a secret. But no one reported it?
Perhaps he is the ONLY person at SMCC - including you and your parents - with any integrity and TRUE BELIEF in the principles and laws of church and school.
Maybe a little reconciliation is in your future?


Oh come on, what kind of person berates a gentle teenager on the internet for their personal religious beliefs. You clearly have no respect for the rights of any other person but yourself.


Babo, look up the name "Caiden Cowger" and then come back to me about "berating a gentle teenager." This kid is a 15-year-old radio "host" from out in New Jersey who has received a TON of attention on LGBT news for his (what can be best described as) "screeds" that are anti-LGBT and anti-left on a level that would make any right-wing talking head proud. (We're talking Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer, Maggie Gallagher level of demonization.)

If someone comes on the message board, they (and by extension, their posts) are fair game for criticisms. Don't like that? Well, use the (right-wing) idea and "don't post."


The poster isn't "Caiden Cowger" and hasn't entered any "screeds". That's your area of expertise.


It's close enough for the point I'm trying to make here. I said it in the last post and I'll reiterate it: any one of us who enters these fora are fair game for criticism, and the person's age has nothing to do with whether or not they are "unworthy" of such criticism. Deflection of my example just because it might actually have some salience doesn't lessen the idea that any post can be called out.