The president of a Catholic school in Seattle has resigned following lengthy protests over the decision to fire the former vice principal for marrying his same sex partner.

An email from the trustees of Eastside Catholic School announced that Sister Mary Tracy had stepped down with immediate effect.

Mark Zmuda was asked leave his job in December, as his same-sex marriage did not adhere to Catholic teaching as required by his contract.

He claims he was then offered the chance to return to work, but only if he divorced from his husband of five months.

The email from the trustees said: “Sister Mary came to this decision after much prayer and reflection. For Sister Mary it was a difficult but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is on a positive path forward.”

Students and others held protests against Mr Zmuda’s departure, while an online petition started by the senior class president calling for his reinstatement gathered over 45,000 signatures.

He had previously spoken out about his experience in an interview with one of his students.

Stephanie Merrow, a music coach at the school who is also in a same-sex marriage, said she was given a new employment contract earlier this month, which did not require her to adhere to Catholic teaching on marriage.

However, several other cases of firings have been reported at Catholic schools, due to contract clauses requiring teachers to ‘adhere to Catholic teaching’.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Washington state since December 2012.