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A high school senior's fight to take her ex-girlfriend to the prom sponsored by her Catholic high school in New York illustrates the predicament faced by LGBT students at religious schools.
The Long Island Press reports on the experience of Angelina Lange, a senior at St. Anthony's, a co-ed Roman Catholic high school in the Franciscan tradition in South Huntington, Long Island. When she approached the friars who serve as school administrators about taking her ex-girlfriend to the June prom, she learned there was no such option for same-sex dates. Any same-sex "friends" that wanted to attend would need to pay for tickets as singles, at nearly 14% more than the total cost of opposite-sex couple tickets, and both singles would have to be students at St. Anthony's, in contrast to the rules for opposite-sex couples that allow one student to be from anywhere.
The strict rules effectively prevent any same-sex couples from attending the prom, but Brother Gary Cregan, the principal of the school, defended the policy as an extension of the Catholic Church's stance on marriage.
"Our Catholic understanding of the sacrament of marriage is between a man and a woman," said Cregan to the Long Island Press. "Every decision we make on the high school level has to reflect that teaching. Following then, logically, from that, if we were to approve of a same-sex couple coming to the prom, it would in a sense appear that we are approving same-sex marriage."
The Long Island Press reports that because it is a private school, St. Anthony's is under no obligation to change the policy. The school is not bound by the anti-discrimination laws in New York state.