Teacher Jerry Buell during an appearance on TMZ Live refused to discuss his views on gay people.

Buell, who last year was named Teacher of the Year at Mount Dora High School in South Florida, returned to the classroom on Thursday. He was suspended from teaching as the district looked into comments he made on Facebook against passage of New York's gay marriage law.

The social studies teacher was reinstated by Lake County Schools Superintendent Susan Moxley. Officials would not comment on whether Buell had been reprimanded.

In a July 25 Facebook post, Buell called gay unions a sin and added that gay marriages were part of a “cesspool.”

“If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don't insult a man and woman's marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool as sames-sex whatever,” Buell wrote.

During an appearance on TMZ Live, Buell refused to discuss his views on homosexuality and insisted they were not pertinent to the debate on gay marriage.

When host Harvey Levin asked Buell for his opinion on homosexuality, Buell's lawyer Harry Mihet, senior litigation counsel for the Christian conservative Liberty Counsel, jumped in.

“You know, we're not really here to debate Mr. Buell's personal views on homosexuality because they are not as relevant to this debate as is whether or not he has the right to have opinions, whether or not the government can tell him what to think or how to express those opinions on his Facebook page.”

After Buell insisted that a gay student in his classroom would be respected, Levin shot back: “I'm not going to drop this only because it's just odd to me that the lawyer is speaking up and … Look, Jerry, you set out to talk about something that had nothing to do with your students and that's your point. When you went on Facebook, you weren't talking about your students, so let's forget about your students for a second, it has nothing to do with your students. You took a position on a really important issue, and it's a position that the majority of voters of California agree with you on. So, I am wondering, because I think this is such a part of the debate and you are now part of that fabric, what underlies it, and I'm interested to know what your view on homosexuality is. This is not a trick question.”

Buell, however, never answered the question, insisting it was not relevant to the discussion, and the interview ended. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)