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Indiana: Group calling for gay-free prom faces backlash

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A number of parents, students and a teacher at Sullivan High School in Indiana are making a pitch for a “traditional” prom, from which gay students would be banned, NBC 2 reports.

According to the report, a group of parents and other unnamed interested parties who want gay students barred from attending the prom met at Sullivan First Christian Church over the weekend.  

Since then the church’s pastor has been distancing himself from the move, saying the church “has no involvement in this whatsoever,” NBC News reports.

Teacher Diana Medley, one of those rallying support for a separate prom, maintains that she cares about gay people.

"Homosexual students come to me with their problems, and I don’t agree with them, but I care about them. It’s the same thing with my special needs kids; I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason,” Medley explains.

Asked by NBC 2 whether gays also have a purpose, Medley says she “honestly” doesn’t think so. “Sorry, but I don’t. I don’t understand it. 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,” she elaborates. 

"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,” a local student told NBC 2, which notes that several local pastors back the idea of a separate prom.

A Facebook page entitled Support the Sullivan High School Prom for All Students was created and now boasts more than 20,000 likes. 

Huffington Post reports that It Gets Better co-founder Dan Savage has weighed in on the matter in a blog. He notes that supporters of the separate prom idea had a Facebook page that has now been pulled down.

Under Savage’s post, one commenter who self-describes as a senior at Sullivan High asserts that “it is NOT the school that is banning same sex couples!"

“Sullivan High School is ACCEPTING the same-sex couples and the staff at SHS is for the same-sex couples going and so are the majority of student and people in the community! I absolutely hate how my town is getting called Anti-Gay Bigots because a few ‘Christians’ are planning a separate prom! Not all of Sullivan is like that I can damn well guarantee it. So please stop saying all of Sullivan County is like that because we aren’t,” the student writes.

Sullivan High principal David Springer told NBC, “Anybody can go to the prom. Of course, a girl could go out with another girl if they didn’t have a date or that was their choice."

In 2010, Mississippi student Constance McMillen did battle with her Itawamba County School District, which cancelled its prom rather than allow her to take her girlfriend to the event.

"All I wanted was the same chance to enjoy my prom night like any other student. But my school would rather hurt all the students than treat everyone fairly,” said McMillen, then an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. “This isn’t just about me and my rights anymore – now I’m fighting for the right of all the students at my school to have our prom."

McMillen was awarded $35,000 in the case.  


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