Notre Dame Preparatory School, a Catholic high school in Baltimore, Maryland, has rejected the wedding announcement of a lesbian alumna in their class notes, prompting an outcry from alumnae and supporters of LGBT equality.
Sarah Rupert-Sullivan graduated from the school in 2003 and married her wife, Molly, last August. Around that time, she submitted the announcement for the “Class Chatter” notes through the school’s website. The Baltimore Sun reports further:
“Weeks later, when the Catholic private school’s class notes were posted online, news of Rupert-Sullivan’s nuptials in Maryland was omitted.
“The reason, according to Notre Dame Prep spokeswoman Cami Colarossi, is an editorial policy tied to the school’s identity as a ministry of the Catholic Church. Colarossi is also the publication’s editor.
” ‘We do not print in official school publications information which conflicts … in any way with the totality of the Church’s teachings,’ Colarossi said.”
Rupert-Sullivan spoke with other administrators at Notre Dame Prep, including the headmistress, and was told there are no plans to change policies, but alumnae will now be notified immediately if their announcement is to be rejected. In response, the she started a petition with over 1,505 signatures calling on the school to allow all marriages to be announced in “Class Chatter.” Of this effort, The Baltimore Sun reports:
“Rupert-Sullivan — who doesn’t identify as Catholic and says she was sent to Notre Dame Prep because her parents thought it seemed like ‘a forward-thinking school’ — said the religion-based policy only seems to go so far.
” ‘The weddings that are listed are not Catholic-only…I got a message from a woman on Facebook that was married, divorced and did not have her first marriage annulled. So technically her second marriage is also a sin, and therefore her child was born illegitimately. NDP happily published both of those things.”
” ‘My other goal was to make sure no other student, whether it be current or past, feels like they are the only ones left out…At this point, I can only push on. I can’t just quietly settle down.’ “
This is the latest in a string of anti-LGBT actions by Catholic schools, which have included firing LGBT employees and failing to respect transgender students who are transitioning. You can read more about such incideants by clicking the ‘Schools & Youth‘ category on the right sidebar of this page.
With marriage equality spreading around the nation, there are only going to be more incidents like this one multiplying in Catholic high schools and colleges. As Catholic Schools Week approaches, beginning January 26th, incidents like these highlight the need for Catholic education to raise its standards on LGBT issues and reiterate that forming gay-straight alliances and implementing inclusive non-discrimination policies should be top priorities for 2014.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry