Minn. Catholic school head says he’s gay, resigns

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The president of a prominent Minnesota Catholic high school resigned last week after he informed other school officials that he is in a same-sex relationship, according to a letter sent Tuesday to people connected to Totino-Grace High School.

William Hudson’s resignation from the Fridley school was effective last Friday. The letter detailing his exit came from the two leaders of the private school’s corporate board.

“Bill informed us that he is in a committed same-sex relationship and voluntarily offered his resignation,” wrote co-presidents of the board, Mark Motzel and Mary Wilcox. They went on to praise his academic and financial stewardship during nine years at the school, including the last two as its leader.

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“That said, leading a Catholic school while living in a committed same-sex relationship is not consistent with teachings of the Catholic Church,” their letter to alumni, parents and others said.

In a statement, Hudson called his resignation a “deeply personal” decision. He said he loved being part of the Totino-Grace community, and reached his decision after “a great deal of prayer, discernment and reflection.”

“Though heartbreaking and painful, I must say that it is freeing to be open about the most important thing in my life and to live an authentic life,” Hudson said. “For over 20 years I have placed service of the Catholic Church ahead of my family. I am excited to now be able focus on my 2 children and my partner of 18 years as my first priority.”

He said he believes God was with him in his journey and his career and blessed him with the opportunity to serve Catholic schools and the church. He had no comment beyond the statement.

Hudson’s biography says he has been president for two years and previously had a top role at the National Catholic Educational Association, which works with 1,200 Catholic high schools around the country. He has held prior roles as a teacher and coach at other Minnesota Catholic schools.

Totino-Grace named an interim president, Principal Julie Michels, to serve during the search for a permanent successor to lead the 47-year-old school, which has 800 students, almost all of whom are Catholic. Aside from its high academic achievement, the school is a sports powerhouse, having won 23 state championships since 2000.

Minnesota is in the midst of a big shift on gay rights. After voters defeated a constitutional amendment to permanently ban gay marriage, the Democratic-controlled Legislature this spring legalized same-sex marriage. That law takes effect on Aug. 1.

The Catholic Church was among the main organizations that pushed for the constitutional ban and later fought the legislative push that legalized gay marriage.

Monica Meyer, executive director of OutFront Minnesota, a gay rights group, said in a statement that the news confirms “there is more work to do to make our state a place where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.”