Should an LGBT club be allowed at a Catholic school? That's the question causing controversy at Nerinx Hall in Webster Groves.
The Catholic Church teaches that acting on same-sex attraction is a sin, but the open-minded students at this all-girls school have been trying to start a gay-straight alliance club for 2 years now. Their efforts have been repeatedly denied.
Now, with the help of social media, thousands of alums are standing behind these students.
The situation came to a head after Nerinx President John Gabriel responded to an alum, who asked why the GSA club was being denied.
"The Archdiocese of St. Louis has asked its schools not to allow the formation of such clubs unless said clubs follow a carefully charted course of action that includes conversion therapy," Gabriel stated.
But the Archdiocese does not require LGBT clubs to include conversion therapy, according to spokesperson Gabe Jones.
Gabriel later redacted that statement, but still, no Gay-Straight Alliance at Nerinx.
"Nobody cares if you're gay anymore," said 2003 graduate Meghan King Edmonds.
While at Nerinx, she was involved in the school's Diversity Club. She says Nerinx has a long history of progressivism and social activism.
"Catholicism teaches to love everyone, and Nerinx really took that a step further, and taught us to love ourselves as well, no matter who we were, and how we were born," she said. "And so with that kind of attitude I would expect that Nerinx should respond to a request for a Gay Straight Alliance with enthusiasm."
Earlier in the day, some students painted rainbows on their faces and put up signs supporting LGBT students. Alumnae are now working to set up a meeting with school administrators.
"That type of can-do attitude is very indicative of a Nerinx student, and that's what we're proud of," Edmonds said. "It's all about using your voice for what's right."
Not all Nerinx Hall alumnae are in favor of the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance club. Some — who wished to remain anonymous — said they'd rather the school stay closer to traditional Catholic ideals.