As children across the country head back to school, four-year-old Olivia Harrison of Bedford, Texas must find another school. Olivia is the latest child to be denied admission to a church school because of her parents' sexual orientation.
Olivia's parents, Jill and Tracy Harrison, spent a considerable amount of time researching the best school for their daughter. Ultimately they chose St. Vincent's Cathedral School in Bedford, a suburb of Dallas, because they thought it would do a good job of imparting "the basic Bible teachings...follow the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, be kind to your neighbor."
St. Vincent's and the Harrison family appeared a mutual good fit, right up until a recent parent's night during orientation week at the school. Though Jill had listed both she and Tracy as Olivia's mothers, school officials say they assumed Tracy was a man. Parent's night confirmed otherwise, and shortly thereafter the Harrisons learned that Olivia was no longer welcome to attend the school on the grounds of their lesbian relationship.
St. Vincent's used to be an Episcopal school. In 2008, it broke away from The Episcopal Church over the ordination of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
In a statement e-mailed to CNN, Rev. Ryan Reed, one of the school's administrators, said in part:
"St. Vincent's School as a ministry of St. Vincent's Cathedral upholds the clear teaching of the Christian faith, the Holy Bible, and the Anglican Church in North America."
Though Jill and Tracy are disappointed by the school's decision, they say they would not want their daughter to be enrolled at a school that does not condone their relationship. Theologically, they think differently than the school.
"The God that I know and the God that I love will love me and love my children no matter what," said Tracy.
If this story sounds familiar, it is. Two other schools - both Catholic - rescinded admissions offers this year because a child's parents were lesbians. One of these incidents took place in Boulder, Colorado; the other took place in Boston, Massachusetts.
GLAAD is closely monitoring the media coverage of the Harrison family's story, and has already worked to make substantial changes to problematic terminology in both local and national news outlets. We are also urging national media to spotlight how mean-spirited decisions like this put families in harm's way.