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'Gay-free' prom idea backfires on supporters in Indiana town

WTHR

Diana Medley, a special-education teacher at a different school, said Sunday, Feb. 10, that allowing gay and lesbian students to attend the prom at Sullivan High School is "offensive to us."

Students and the principal at an Indiana high school are disavowing a campaign by parents to organize a "gay-free" prom.


Even the pastor of the church that hosted the original organizing meeting says the church doesn't back the effort to throw a straights-only prom for students at Sullivan High School in Sullivan, Ind., south of Terre Haute.

The movement began after Principal David Springer was asked to clarify whether same-sex couples would be allowed to take part in the traditional grand march before the prom, which is scheduled for April 27.

"Anybody can go to the prom," Springer told NBC station WTHR of Indianapolis. "Of course, a girl could go out with another girl if they didn't have a date or that was their choice."


One of those attending the small gathering of parents Sunday night at Sullivan First Christian Church was Diana Medley, a special-education teacher at another school, North Central Junior/Senior High School, in nearby Farmersburg.

Allowing gay and lesbian students to attend the prom is "offensive to us," said Medley, who told NBC station WTWO of Terre Haute that even though she doesn't agree with them, she does care for "homosexual students" who come to her with their problems. 

Then, Medley created a firestorm of criticism by equating gay and lesbian teenagers to students with developmental disabilities.

"It's the same thing with my special-needs kids," she said. "I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason."

Asked whether gays and lesbians have any "purpose in life," she replied:

"No, I honestly don't. Sorry, but I don't. I don't understand it."

Commentators from across the country weighed in to criticize Medley, including syndicated columnist Dan Savage, who publicized a petition to have Medley fired. 

Dale Wise, senior minister at Sullivan First Christian Church, was quick to distance himself from the sentiment.

"Our church has no involvement in this whatsoever. It's a community thing where people have met here," he told WTWO.


Jim Davis of Sullivan declared that "we shouldn't be condemning people, and that's what judgment is."

"Christ came to save the people, not to condemn them," he told WTWO. "Love them as a person. You don't have to love what they do, because the gays may not love all the mistakes you make."

Emily Butler, a junior at Sullivan High, said: "You should be able to go with whoever you want. You shouldn't be discriminated against for what you are, what you believe in."

Even Wyatt Land, a Sullivan student who said it was important to remember that "the Bible says for a man to love another woman," told WTHR that he thought gay and lesbian classmates should be welcome at the official prom.

"As long as they aren't sitting there and kissing on the dance floor and grinding on each other, stuff like that, I don't have a problem with that," he said. "I don't see what's wrong with it. Prom is for everybody. It's a high school experience."

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