SULLIVAN, Ind. - Some parents, students and clergy in a western Indiana city want a separate high school prom banning gay and lesbian students.
A group of supporters met Sunday at the Sullivan First Christian Church, in Sullivan County, to plan a separate "traditional prom" for Sullivan High School students that would prohibit gays from attending, WTWO reported.
"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 student told WTWO.
"If we can get a good prom, then we can convince more people to come and follow what they believe," student Kynon Johnson told WTWO.
Among the supporters is Diana Medley, a special education teacher at nearby North Central Jr./Sr. High School in the Northeast School Corporation, who told WTWO she doesn't believe anyone is born gay.
"We don't agree with it (homosexuality), and it's offensive to us," she said. "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."
When asked if she thinks gays have a purpose in life, Medley said, "No I honestly don't. 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," Medley told WTWO.
Area pastors are also voicing support for the separate prom movement.
"Christians have always been prepared for a fight. Jesus gave us armor for the front, not the back. We're not running anymore," Bill Phegley, with Carlisle Church, told WTWO.
A Facebook page supporting the "traditional prom" had been pulled down Monday morning, and a counter campaign had been launched called Support the Sullivan High School Prom for All Students.
National gay rights advocate Dan Savage also blasted the separate prom movement on his blog.
"There's no way to stop the haters at Sullivan High School from holding an independent prom for the special bigoted kids," he wrote. "But here's what we can do: we can make a noise so loud enough that all the queer kids at Sullivan High School hear it. Those kids need to know that there are people -- a lot of people -- who think this (expletive) is wrong."
Southwest School Corporation Superintendent Chris Stitzle said the school plans to go on with its prom April 27 as planned.
"We're planning on having our prom just like we always have. We encourage all students to participate," he said. "We treat all students with respect and dignity."
Stitzle said the school district does not support the group pushing for the "traditional prom."
"I just want to make clear that we are in no way part of the alternative prom," Stitzle said.
Stitzle said he doesn't want the alternative prom to happen.
"I would hope we'll have just one prom in Sullivan," he said.
A message for comment was left with Northeast School Corporation Superintendent Mark Baker regarding Medley's involvement with the group.
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