A Catholic college in in Pennsylvania has reversed their decision not to allow a same sex couple to enter an alumni Valentine’s Day contest.
In a posting on Facebook Wednesday, Megan Lynn explained that she and her partner, Katie MacTurk, had entered The Saint Joseph’s University Alumni Association’s “How I Met My Hawkmate” contest, but were rejected because of their sexual orientation.
“As recently-engaged Hawkmates, we thought it would be wonderful to share our news and story with the SJU community, of which we are so proud to be a part of,” Lynn wrote. “[Four] days later (after religiously checking our email and Facebook pages) our photo still wasn’t up (despite advising that it would be posted within 24 hours). Maybe they were just really busy? But when another couple’s photo was posted, we decided to email the Alumni Association to make sure they received everything.”
“After getting called back, we learned that the Alumni Association had ‘discussed our submission,’ and inevitably decided NOT to post our submission because ‘the Catholic Church does not recognize same-sex marriage.’”
That post to Facebook was “liked” over 300 times and “shared” over 400 times.
On Tuesday, the Alumni Association finally caved under public pressure and allowed the couple entry into the contest, posting their photo on Facebook along with a message that the organization did not agree with same sex relationships.
“Saint Joseph’s University fully supports and is in agreement with the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage,” the message said. “As a Catholic, Jesuit university, Saint Joseph’s is a welcoming, inclusive community. Our focus is on respect and caring for all individuals as individuals.”
The Alumni Association has not officially apologized for the unequal treatment Lynn and MacTurk initially received.
Under the rules of the contest, the photo that gets the most Facebook “likes” will win a $100 gift card to the restaurant of their choice. With over 1,800 “likes” by Friday, the couple seemed almost certain to win. The closest competitor had less than 200 “likes.”
“I never thought that many people would support us and really fight for this,” MacTurk told NBC Philadelphia. “I think it attests to the caliber of students that St. Joe’s producers that so many people would really stand up for what they believe is right no matter who the injustice has been committed against.”
Watch this video from NBC Philadelphia, broadcast Feb. 1, 2012.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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