LGBT and religious leaders condemn call for "straight-only" prom in Indiana

The group of Sullivan High School parents, teachers, and students lobbying for a straight-only prom have couched their anti-LGBT position in religious language, stating "We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals, but we don't think it's right nor should it be accepted."

Special education teacher Diana Medley, who has been vocal about the group's desire for a prom that would ban LGBT students, believes that LGBT people have no purpose in life. When questioned, she said that "a gay person isn't going to come up and make some change unless it's to realize that it was a choice and they're choosing God."

Many religious leaders, however, have rejected the group's claims that LGBT people are "wrong" and that they should have a straight-only prom. Marianne Duddy-Burke of the Catholic organization, DignityUSA, states:

How tragic that a tiny group is attempting to make an Indiana high school prom a time of division, instead of the unified celebration it should be for a graduating class. No matter how students identify, they should be free to attend prom with the person of their choice. The administration and vast majority of students are apparently working to reinforce the message that “All are Welcome,” and to reassure LGBT students that they are valued members of the community. As Catholics, we support their efforts, and hope that all of the seniors in Sullivan, Indiana have a safe and fun experience at this event.

Andrew Marin, whose Marin Foundation seeks to "build bridges between the LGBT community and the Church," states:

The best thing for those who claim the name of Jesus in Sullivan, IN can do is to model for these students what it means to actually live into the tenants of their faith by staying in the tension, focusing on Jesus' love, within the ever-present theological, social or poetical differences. All this situation is currently doing is teaching the world that Christians believe it is ok to run away when they don't like something. That is the exact opposite of how Jesus lived, and what he taught his followers to do.

About 20% of Indiana's population identifies as Roman Catholic. Significant numbers also identify as Baptist, Methodist, and Lutheran.


Join GLSEN in sending messages of support to LGBT students at Sullivan High School and their allies. Visit their web site, Prom is for Everyone, to send yoru message to the Sullivan High School students. GLSEN's Executive Director Eliza Byard, started the way by thanking Sullivan High School's administrators for "standing up for what is right and making the Sullivan High prom safe, respectful, and inclusive." Please join her in offering your support.