A Catholic school has been slammed by advocacy groups for banning a female student from taking another girl to her formal.
Following the ban, the student called on the school to show more inclusivity and acceptance, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Now the Premier has weighed in, calling for the ban to be overturned.
Catholic school slammed for same-sex formal ban
St Ursula’s College in Kingsgrove, an all-girls Catholic school, banned Year 12 student Abbie Frankland from bringing a female date to her formal.
In response, she launched an online petition which amassed nearly 5000 signatures before closing.
Posting to Change.org on Tuesday, Abbie wrote:
“My girlfriend and I, along with many other students at St. Ursula’s in Kingsgrove NSW, Australia, have been eagerly awaiting the school formal for months.
“We’ve purchased non-refundable tickets and outfits in anticipation of this event.
“However, we’ve recently discovered that the school does not allow same-sex couples to attend the formal together.”
Abbie called on the school to “align itself” with its public sentiment of inclusivity and acceptance.
“By signing this petition, you’re standing up against discrimination and supporting equal rights for all students at St. Ursula’s School,” she said.
Tip of the iceberg
Meanwhile, Equality Australia chief executive Anna Brown described the school’s decision as only “the tip of the iceberg” of discrimination faced by queer children and staff in religious schools.
“We know of children who have been expelled, denied leadership positions, told they are going to hell, forced into ‘counselling’ or advised to live celibate lives,” Ms Brown said.
“This is obviously confronting to many people and out of step with the views of the vast majority of people of faith.
“The outpouring of support for Abbie, including from many Christians, has been overwhelming and welcome beyond words.”
NEXT READ Discrimination
Support from Premier
NSW Premier Chris Minns also expressed his support for the student and called on the school to overturn the ban.
“I think in this day and age you should be able to take anyone you like to your year 12 formal – we are after all talking about teenagers who are close to or over the age of 18,” he said.
Mr Minns’ sister Sarah signed Abbie’s petition writing:
“Excluding people based on sexual orientation does not model Christ-like love or acceptance”.
Meanwhile, discrimination lawyer Stephen Dryley-Collins said, in most cases, discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation is unlawful.
“Unfortunately there remains loopholes which exempt religious institutions such as schools to discriminate against LGBTIQ people,” he said.
Mr Dryley-Collins called on the government to finally remove such exemptions.
“If religious schools want exemptions from laws that the rest of us must comply with, then perhaps they should not be funded by taxpayer dollars,” Mr Dryley-Collins said.
If you have experienced discrimination, please call
To connect with us, please follow us on