Iowa Catholic School Refuses to Allow LGBT Foundation to Present ‘Matthew Shepard Scholarship’ to Gay Student

Keaton Fuller, a student at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, Iowa, was encouraged by his school to apply for a $40,000 scholarship awarded to LGBT students. Fuller applied and was awarded the scholarship, but the school that told Fuller to apply for the prize won't let the foundation's representative present it to him, the AP reports:

FullerBishop Martin Amos in Davenport said the Eychaner Foundation would not be allowed to present the Matthew Shepard Scholarship to Keaton Fuller during the May 20 ceremony at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, saying the group’s support for gay rights conflicts with church doctrine.

The announcement comes after a school official signed a document last month that promised to let a representative of the foundation’s scholarship committee present the award to Fuller.

Writes Fuller, in an open letter to The Prince of Peace Student Body and Staff:

This past March, I was made aware by our school of an incredible scholarship opportunity. The Matthew Shepard Scholarship is awarded to a few LGBT students across the state of Iowa each year by the Eychaner Foundation in honor of a young man who was beaten and later died because of his sexual orientation. The purpose of the scholarship is not only to honor the recipients for their efforts working for the acceptance of the LGBT community, but also to raise awareness and understanding throughout the state.

After becoming one of eight finalists interviewed, I was very excited. The moment I was told that I had been awarded a 2012 Gold Matthew Shepard Scholarship was one of the happiest of my life. It made me feel that my efforts had truly paid off. When word got around about this achievement, I received a great deal of praise from many of you, for which I am extremely grateful.

Part of receiving this generous scholarship includes having a member of the scholarship committee present the award at each student’s graduation or awards ceremonies. This protocol was communicated to the school as part of the scholarship materials and the scholarship committee received written confirmation that should a scholarship be awarded, a representative from the scholarship committee would be allowed to present it in person to me at graduation. Upon being selected for the award in very early April, the scholarship committee wrote to the school confirming that a committee member would present the award on May 20th.

However, on Friday, April 27th, my family and I were told by the school that a member of the foundation would not be permitted to present this award at graduation. The scholarship committee has not been notified of this decision and my family has been put in the middle, so my family has asked for a reversal of the decision.

Fuller plans to attend the University of Iowa on his scholarship.

There's a petition asking the school to allow Keaton to receive his award from the Scholarship Committee, with dignity.

More at the Quad City Times


  1. Danny in the East Village says

    Just mindblowing–thereby they endorse both what happened to poor Mathew AND deprivation of human rights to gay persons.

  2. Jeffrey in St. Louis says

    Considering that this scholarship is in memory of Matthew Shepard, may we then assume that the Catholic Church condones beating gay youth senseless and tying them to a split rail fence to die?

    What part about NOT condoning the aforementioned is not in concert with Catholic teaching?

  3. S. says

    Since the Catholic church and its schools are now political organizations, perhaps they should not any longer be tax exempt. Let’s all write to our congress person and suggest this as a new law.

  4. ratbastard says

    No sense in arguing with the R.C. church. It’s been around for 2000 years, and is no different than any other mega institution with a massive bureaucracy that will do anything to protect itself. As an institution, it no more cares about the average Catholic or person in general than Goldman Sachs, Bank of America or Monsanto. Plus, it’s homophobia is rooted IMO in old school traditional Italian culture where such things as homosexuality are hidden and not talked about. Add to that the fact the ‘modern’ church [and ‘modern’ Protestant denominations] rely now almost entirely for their growth on uber ‘conservative’ [i.e. traditionalist] poor. backward 3rd world nations and people.

  5. ratbastard says


    I agree 100%. This should also apply to any so-called ‘non-profit’ tax exempt ‘religion’ or organization. You wanna play, you gotta pay.

  6. NorthoftheBorder says

    stupid catholic schools…. and then the married principal goes and has an affair with the married music teacher. go figure.

  7. Tim says

    I am really proud that Mr. Fuller won this award. He is a cool looking young dude and I wish him the best. On the other hand, good luck with the Catholic Church and the Bishop.
    If they only realized how trite and un-christian this decision makes them look. In the Quad City newspapers and out of 75 comments, most were in favor of the presentation. However, most of them would not turn away from the Catholic Church. It is easy to say what is right, but, standing up and doing is not so easy. Religion has a tight grip on the world, Catholics very tight. I wish this young man the best for his future.

  8. KT says

    So this is like what, the third or fourth time this year a Catholic school had to revoke their plans because the bishops are uncomfortable with LGBT people. There was the beloved music teacher who said the school knew he was gay but was fired once the diocesy found out and then the graduation speacker invited by the school who was then unvited by the bishop. Throw in the woman fired for undergoing invitro, the choir director fired for marrying his boyfriend, and US nuns being scolded for spending more time helping than poor than getting involved in politics and one thing is clear – all the Catholic leadership cares about is power and control. Jesus would be ashamed.

  9. Swiminbuff says

    The school should be proud that one of their students received a $40,000 scholarship to attend university that they actually encouraged the young man to apply for. The bishop should actually be proud that a young man in the Catholic school system was able to win such a large scholarship but instead he has to turn was is supposed to be a proud day, a milestone in a young life, into a day of controversy and one that makes his own church look so 15th century. Of course 400 years from now they will probably be apologizing for being wrong just like they did with Galileo.

    Congrats to Keaton though and best of luck at university.

  10. says

    Congratulations to the young man, but sadly, his school is bearing out what seems to be a trend among Christian organizations: you can’t rely on their adherence to a contract or agreement if it becomes inconvenient for them. In short, their word is no good.

  11. Vint says

    The next time a Catholic spokesman prates about “loving the sinner” and claims that the Church has even a rudimentary respect for human dignity, this is the story to remember.

  12. Wren says

    Really who cares? A catholic “school” teaches a fictional book (Bible) as fact. This brainwashing cult is not a school. Gay kids are better off going elsewhere.

  13. Dale says

    I think all good open minded Catholics who support this young man, should with hold their weekly collection plate donations until the school changes it’s mind.

    Money talks.

  14. jim says

    Just seems to be no end to the inhumanity of the catholic church.

    A $40k scholarship? Holy Sh*t! $40 grand…that’s amazing. You GO, Keaton!!

  15. says

    Can some people in this kids home town arrange to have a HUGE party in his honor and award it to him there? I would also start a campaign to get contributors to the school to start giving their money elsewhere.

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