A Californian vice principal who removed a gay student from a school pageant for veering off-script and saying he wanted to marry a man has been temporarily removed from his campus while the student in question has backed the educator.

Joe Abell, of Fullerton Union High School in Orange County, was working at the school district’s offices instead of the campus, the OC Register reports.

17-year-old Kearian Giertz had been appearing in the Mr Fullerton pageant, a popular, light-hearted pageant for senior male students.

Asked where he saw himself in 10 years’ time, he reportedly departed from an agreed script and told the audience he hoped to have met and married a man he loved in a state where gay marriages were legal.

Mr Abell removed Kearian from the stage and the competition, but apologised to the student personally and over the school’s public address system.

While the paper reports that the suspension from campus is temporary pending administrators’ investigations, Kearian has said he does not want the vice principal fired.

He said: “I do not want people to view Mr. Abell as homophobic or as someone who doesn’t support gay rights. That’s none of anyone’s business, and it’s none of my business.

“His reaction was initiated by a fear that someone would be offended.

“Fullerton Joint Union High School District has no policy about protecting people based on sexual orientation, so there are no rules protecting me.”