The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington on Monday issued a statement supporting Lexington Catholic High School's decision to bar two female students who wanted to attend prom as a couple Saturday night.
Hope Decker, 18, a senior, and sophomore Tiffany Wright, 16, were told Friday by school administrators they could not attend the dance as a couple because of the church's stance on same-sex relationships, Wright said. On Saturday, when the couple tried to enter the school's gymnasium, where the prom was held, they were turned away.
Instead, the young women and a number of supporters held their own prom celebration in the school parking lot.
Lexington Catholic Principal Sally Stevens declined to comment on Monday, referring a reporter to an earlier statement that says the school upholds the church teachings.
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In an e-mail Sunday, Lexington Catholic president Steve Angelucci said, "As a Catholic high school, we uphold every teaching of the Catholic Church. The policies and procedures of our school reflect those teachings."
The Diocese's statement said the school's decision to prohibit the admittance of the same-sex couple was "consistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church."
"The Church empathizes with those who struggle with same-sex attraction, but, at the same time, the Church and its institutions, like Lexington Catholic, cannot condone or promote actions which normalize homosexual tendencies," the statement says in part. "This in no way detracts from the value and dignity of the students involved. In light of Catholic teaching, the actions of the Lexington Catholic High School administration were a corrective invitation to the students involved to embrace their truest human dignity as children of God."
The situation was generating plenty of discussion on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook on Monday.
By Monday evening, more than 600 people had signed an online petition at Change.org urging the school to apologize for denying the young women entrance to the prom.