School Choice & Charters

Catholic Officials Back Gay Parents

By Mary Ann Zehr — January 11, 2005 1 min read

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, Calif., is backing the decision of a Catholic school in Costa Mesa to continue enrolling two sons of a gay couple despite opposition from some parents of other students at the school.

After 18 parents complained in a letter to St. John the Baptist School about its admission of two boys who are being raised by two gay men, the 560-student K-8 school issued a policy statement saying: “The personal family background of a student does not constitute an absolute obstacle to enrollment in the school.”

Given the recent national attention to same-sex marriage, more religious schools may be compelled to clarify policies on enrollment of students from gay families, and of students who disclose their own homosexuality, said Burt Carney, the director for legal and legislative issues for the Association of Christian Schools International, in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Where things were quiet in the past, they’re being ratcheted up because people are pushing the envelope,” he said.

Claire M. Helm, the vice president of operations for the National Catholic Educational Association, based in Washington, said she hadn’t heard before of a controversy about whether the children of gay couples should be enrolled at a Catholic school. She said it would be “sad” if a Catholic school shut out a gay student or the children of gay parents.

The parents who objected to the two boys’ enrollment at St. John the Baptist requested in their letter that the school require all students’ parents to sign a covenant of compliance with Catholic teachings, said the Rev. Gerald M. Horan, the superintendent of schools for the diocese, which is located in Orange County.

“If you go down the road of saying the moral choices of the parents determine the eligibility of the student in our programs, you have to be universal and fair about applying that,” Father Horan said. It wouldn’t make sense to exclude the children of couples who have disobeyed the church’s teachings in ways other than practicing homosexuality, such as by using birth control or not getting married, he added.

An attempt to obtain a copy of the letter or a comment from a parent who signed it was unsuccessful.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2005 edition of Education Week


Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela
Teaching Live Online Discussion How to Develop Powerful Project-Based Learning
How do you prepare students to be engaged, active, and empowered young adults? Creating a classroom atmosphere that encourages students to pursue critical inquiry and the many skills it requires demands artful planning on the

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
School Choice & Charters Full-Time Virtual Schools: Still Growing, Still Struggling, Still Resisting Oversight
Nearly 500,000 students now attend full-time online and blended schools, says a new report from the National Education Policy Center.
6 min read
Student attending class from a remote location.
School Choice & Charters Opinion Is Hybrid Home Schooling the Future of Education?
Rick Hess speaks with Mike McShane about hybrid home schooling, which combines the best of home schooling and traditional schooling.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters Oklahoma Charter Schools Granted Local Tax Revenue in 'Seismic' Settlement
A groundbreaking settlement will fundamentally change the way charter schools are funded in Oklahoma, despite vehement opposition.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
This July 19, 2019 photo shows an Epic Charter Schools office in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted Thursday in favor of an agreement with the state's public charter school association to settle a 2017 lawsuit.
This July 19, 2019 photo shows an Epic Charter Schools office in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted Thursday in favor of an agreement with the state's public charter school association to settle a 2017 lawsuit.
Sue Ogrocki/AP