Catholic Church | Gay Youth | New York

Catholic High School Bans Same-Sex Couples At Prom

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A Long Island co-ed Catholic high school has banned same-sex couples from attending this year's prom, this after 17-year-old student Angelina Lange asked to bring her ex-girlfriend to the event. Lange was told by her Assistant Principal, Brother Joshua DiMauro, that she could only bring another girl if she was a fellow student and the two attended just as friends.

The Long Island Press lays out St. Anthony's policy for students attending prom:

There is first the question—and discrepancy—of price. For an opposite-sex “couple” to attend St. Anthony’s prom together, they would pay $290, together, in one lump sum. For two same-sex “friends” to attend together they would pay $330, split in half, $165 apiece. (Again, to be clear, there is no option here recognizing a same-sex “couple.”)

Furthermore, for an opposite-sex couple to attend prom together, only one of the students has to attend St. Anthony’s—the other is allowed to attend as a “date,” and can come from anywhere else. For a same-sex couple to attend prom together, both students have to attend St. Anthony’s—because they would be doing so not as a couple, but as a pair of singles, and no singles outside St. Anthony’s are allowed to attend St. Anthony’s prom.

The school's Principal explains the unfair decision to prohibit gay couples:

"Our Catholic understanding of the sacrament of marriage is between a man and a woman. Every decision we make on the high school level has to reflect that teaching. Following then, logically, from that, if we were to approve of a same-sex couple coming to the prom, it would in a sense appear that we are approving same-sex marriage.”

The Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Services Network responds: "The message is that the school doesn't really care about its students and that's not a good message."

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Comments

  1. This logic astounds me, that going to prom is the equivalent of getting married. If that were true, a lot of us gay guys who took girls to prom, for whatever reason, are in a lot of trouble.

    Posted by: PDX Guy | May 14, 2011 2:58:36 PM


  2. I am a supporter of gay marriage, gay adoption, etc.

    However, this is a PRIVATE school. If you don't like the rules, don't pay thousands of dollars to attend. Were this public school, publicly funded with tax dollars that is one thing, same-sex dates should be allowed. This is not a publicly funded school, it is a religious school.

    Don't join, don't attend, don't pay money, don't (fill in the blank)...if you do, live with the rules that they set forth when you signed the enrollment form and paid the bills.

    Posted by: Rin | May 14, 2011 3:05:51 PM


  3. eh, it's a private school.

    Certainly that does not make their actions okay, but it is private for a reason. We ought to be focused on schools that are secular that are still doing this - I'd say that's the bigger problem.

    Posted by: joe | May 14, 2011 3:09:45 PM


  4. Is she the only gay person in the school? I'm willing to bet chances are good that there's at least one guy who'd take Angelina's ex as his date, while Angelina could take his guest of choice as her date.

    Posted by: KeithK | May 14, 2011 3:22:21 PM


  5. With you RIN!

    I am a former Catholic but am now AGAINST any organized religion (I think they are the reason for all that's wrong with the world today), I favor civil unions over same-sex marriage (marriage is a Catholic sacrament thing in my view - they can have it) BUT....

    ...I'm with them on this one. This is a private Catholic school. It's their rules, abide by them or find another school to attend.

    Periopd.

    Posted by: CARIBTONY | May 14, 2011 3:54:52 PM


  6. There is nothing logical about that so-called argument. It's completely nonsensical in fact.

    And no, just because it's a religious school, this doesn't mean that every small detail has to be influenced by religious doctrine. To any reasonable personal it only means that the curriculum contains a certain amount of religious education. In the same vain, something doesn't magically become acceptable just because it's a private and/or religious school. Their first duty should be towards the pupils, not towards their god.

    Posted by: Steve | May 14, 2011 3:57:36 PM


  7. yes its their school / thier rules...blah blah blah - Im sorry I was ever raised catholic.....Reality and Science are my religion

    Posted by: Disgusted Gay American | May 14, 2011 4:05:59 PM


  8. their school their rights..I would never send my kid to a Catholic school...I mean really???

    Posted by: chris | May 14, 2011 4:45:09 PM


  9. @RIN, CARIBTONY, ETC

    I'm kinda shocked to hear this "private school, follow the rules" argument being tossed out with so little reflection. Do you really think 14-18 year olds are the ones making the decisions about their high school education? Don't you think their parents are primarily the ones making the decision (and footing the bill)?

    And even if kids consent to the choice (as Ms. Lange did), don't they have a right to speak out against policies that discriminate against them? Shouldn't they work to repeal such policies?

    An excellent example is the Presbyterian Church. People joined even though they disagreed with some of their policies, such as the ordination of gay priests. They worked from within to change those policies, and they succeeded.

    We should be supporting LGBT youth who seek change in any arena, public or private, not telling them their choices are either to follow the rules or get out.

    Posted by: josh.josh.josh | May 14, 2011 6:31:35 PM


  10. I am pro gay marriage, pro gay adoption and pro equal rights but this is a private school and they can set their rules.

    Posted by: plaintom | May 14, 2011 7:28:41 PM


  11. Is it time once again to revisit my favorite mockumentary on the Catholic church?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VABSoHYQr6k

    Posted by: ROTFLMAO | May 14, 2011 7:58:04 PM


  12. @Steve/Josh - People who are religious and choose to send their kids to a private/catholic school are doing so because they put God first and they want their children to do the same, so no, God comes first for them. If we could get these people to keep that element of things restricted to their own lives and not, say, our lives, the world would be a happier place all around, but that's another topic...

    "any reasonable person" -- sounds to me like you mean someone who either never attended or wouldn't send his children to a religious school. It doesn't mean it's regular school except with a dress code and a Bible class. In Christian school we had chapel once a week, we prayed as a group in the morning and at the beginnings of classes, and all the staff worked to help the students to not only become good adults, but better Christians. I can't speak to what goes on in Catholic schools, and I've gotten the impression from what I *have* been able to glean from the things I've seen either from people I know or television that it's a slightly more lax environment by comparison, but just the same. God, the Bible, they're at the center of everything in these schools. If I were the parent of a child who had come out, I would probably pull my kid out of the school altogether before I suggested they try to change policy. If you join a gym and find out you can't work out naked, you find a gym that lets you work out naked.

    A huge part of the reason why we have to deal with DOMA and even DADT is because of people's loyalty to their religious beliefs. It makes way more sense to try and get these people to see they can have their beliefs, whatever they may be and however much we might disagree, without affecting those of us who don't believe as they do, but people who are religious, Christians especially, will respond to any attempts to infringe on their religious institutions as an attack, and it will make our battle that much harder in the long run. Our point, which they so frequently label as some perverse, predatorial 'agenda' should be that we just want to live our lives freely, but that shouldn't mean stopping other people from living their lives the way they want to.

    It's unfortunate that there are a lot of kids who attend these schools and realize along the way that they're gay, and obviously some of them can't tell their parents or teachers, but I think things like The Trevor Project and "It Gets Better" campaign are helping kids to see they can find healthy resources to help them make it through that phase of their life.

    Posted by: antisaint | May 14, 2011 9:10:20 PM


  13. @ANTISAINT- An elegant and thoughtful solution if the other side can get past their (distrust/fear/mistrust).

    Posted by: plaintom | May 14, 2011 10:23:03 PM


  14. LOL I can't believe my high school is in the news! I graduated in 1997. All I can say is that you have to understand that a Catholic School just is not gay-friendly in the least and certainly not pro-gay in any way. There are no gay clubs allowed or anything of the type. Being gay is never talked about or included in any of the school curriculum or in guidance classes (which are actually mandatory). I didn't know a single kid in all 4 years I went there who was openly gay or out or whatever. Of course, it was obvious to me they were there LOL but no one was comfortable coming out.

    It doesn't surprise me at all that any Catholic School would be against a same sex couple going to the prom. This is considered one of the most prestigious Catholic High School in NY and definitely the most prestigious in Long Island - it is run by Franciscan Brothers, you know the kind that wear robes and look like monks, and there are nuns there too. It's a strict school and is backed by a TON of money.

    Of course every school has it's scandals and one of the Brothers there, who happened to be my English teacher, ended up being "removed (moved)" from the school for inappropriately touching/sexually harassing a student. Gotta love the Catholic Church - they won't tolerate gays but are more than happy to do all they can to hide perverts among their clergy and teachers instead of reporting them to the police.

    Posted by: RealBlast3 | May 14, 2011 11:16:07 PM


  15. It's a PRIVATE school and there's absolutely no reason that their right to hold reprehensible and trollish beliefs shouldn't be respected. They have the right to set their own rules. Let them.

    Posted by: JDB | May 14, 2011 11:27:35 PM


  16. Why is this even news? Of course a Catholic school won't allow gay couples. It's a private school, and the parents are getting exactly what they paid for. I do feel sorry for the kids affected, but they don't have any say (except to boycott, loudly).
    This is just like those ridiculous lawsuits against Catholic schools who fire their single and pregnant teachers. Ladies, you signed an employment contract with a RELIGIOUS SCHOOL. What did you think would happen?

    Posted by: J | May 15, 2011 2:37:02 AM


  17. St. Anthony was as gay as they come.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_of_Padua

    Posted by: Philo | May 15, 2011 2:57:15 AM


  18. although i don't agree with the decision, it is a private catholic school and the rules there are not the same as for a public school.

    Posted by: lk | May 15, 2011 7:25:28 AM


  19. Just because the place is a private school doesn't mean they can do what they like......they have to remain within the law.
    Is there a non discrimination law prohibiting this kind of treatment ?
    That is where the fault lies.....make these bigots conform to the equality laws and non-discrimination laws.
    In the interim, a boycott would be great.....but what catholics parents are going to support that ? They still believe is raising from the dead and turning water into wine and a dozen other conjuring tricks.
    A private school should not be allowed become a Madrassa in our midst....a Trojan horse peddling hate and bigotry.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 15, 2011 7:38:40 AM


  20. @Josh + others

    Yes, private religious institutions CAN do what they want, and private religious schools can especially do what they want according to the US Constitution. Hence why people should be savvier shoppers with their educational dollars and put your money where your beliefs are.

    I wouldn't send my child to a private school that went against my own beliefs in a significant way. If my girls were unhappy because the school didn't conform to their beliefs, I would remove them from the school.

    I would not change the tenants of a school whose charter existed prior to my joining. That's like eating your way through a seven course dinner and then complaining about the appetizer.

    I'm also getting weary of the angst over stuff like proms when kids in the US have horrible literacy rates and can't do math to save their lives.

    People tend to forget that the purpose of school is not to create a social structure or even have fun. It is about acquiring skills in reading, math, sciences, etc.

    Proms, sports, etc. are superfluous to education.

    I feel bad for the child that her mother and father kept in her a Catholic school when she knew she was gay, thus creating an incident such as this, but then again...a lot of parents who are atheists and agnostics send their kids to private schools (even Catholic ones) for the education, so I guess its a tossup.

    Posted by: Rin | May 15, 2011 9:21:03 AM


  21. Is it such a shocker that a Catholic school won't let a same sex couple come to prom? This is news? This is shocking? Why the article? This is Dog Bites Man journalism, not Man Bites Dog. What part of Catholic school isn't being understood? We all know what the heirarchy of that religion espouses and since it's a Catholic school prom, they make the rules. I'm not aghast about some organization's homophobic, arcaine rules especially one that's not a surprise. Stupid as they may be.

    Posted by: Bart | May 15, 2011 9:40:45 AM


  22. Amazing how many commenters here immediately jumped to the "Catholic school has the right to be as troglodyte as they please" argument. That may be, although, I assume if they were discriminating based on race or sex you might feel differently -- funny how many think homophobia is just a reasonable position over which people can disagree. Still, the point is, this girl almost certainly didn't choose to accept this mistreatment, and why shouldn't people point out what backward hateful trolls the Catholic hierarchy is? We have a right to speak out about it too.

    Posted by: Glenn | May 15, 2011 10:46:11 AM


  23. For all y'all who defend this "private" school for it's antigay rules, consider that it is probably NOT REALLY PRIVATE: See this recent Supreme Court decision giving these bigots OUR tax money:

    http://www.schoolbullyingcouncil.com/supreme-court-tosses-private-school-tax-credit-challenge/

    Posted by: just_a_guy | May 15, 2011 11:23:07 AM


  24. It indeed is a private school. Of course she knew she'd be turned down.

    I attended a Catholic all-boys HS for 2 years. We actually had very explicit sex ed classes, theology class. it wasn't nearly as tight-a**ed as some people might think it would be. And sex...all kinds of sex....were a constant topic, naturally. And we all knew some of the staff, including 'brothers', and priests, were gay. We knew some fellow students were gay. One guy was perfectly 'str8' acting and never attempted to hide the fact he was gay and he was popular with everyone. And he came from and lived in a tough neighborhood. It was actually one of the more open and laid back environments I ever was stuck in. I attended public HS for another 2 years and found that to be much more tense atmosphere. Maybe it had something to do with same sex vs coed? This was all in the early 90s.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 15, 2011 11:47:51 AM


  25. This is a private religious school and as such yes they have the right ot refuse to allow same sex couples to attend. if it was a public school then no they do not have the right to refuse to allow students to date or bring to prom whomever they choose. public school is just that public and there for all, supposedly, equally.

    Posted by: barry d. | May 15, 2011 11:38:48 PM


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