Notre Dame Prep rejects alumna's same-sex wedding announcement

School policy is not to print information which conflicts with Church's teachings, spokeswoman says

  • After Sarah Rupert-Sullivan, left, submitted her wedding announcement to Notre Dame Prep's alumnae class notes, the school rejected it, citing an editorial policy related to its Catholic affiliation.
After Sarah Rupert-Sullivan, left, submitted her wedding… (Courtesy of Sarah Rupert-Sullivan )
January 15, 2014|By Michael Gold | The Baltimore Sun

Sarah Rupert-Sullivan knew she shouldn't have been shocked her same-sex wedding was excluded from Notre Dame Prep's alumnae class notes. But she was.

"To be kind of candid about it," she said, "I was pissed."

Now, she has launched a petition against a school editorial policy which she says discriminates against LGBT people by not giving equal treatment to same-sex and opposite-sex married couples.

Rupert-Sullivan, who graduated from Notre Dame Prep in 2003 but now lives in Philadelphia, married her wife Molly in Frederick last August.

As the wedding approached, she received an email from her alma mater asking for submissions to its "Class Chatter" publication. So Rupert-Sullivan went to the Towson prep school's website, wrote a quick announcement and sent it in.

Weeks later, when the Catholic private school's class notes were posted online, news of Rupert-Sullivan's nuptials in Maryland was omitted.

The reason, according to Notre Dame Prep spokeswoman Cami Colarossi, is an editorial policy tied to the school's identity as a ministry of the Catholic Church. Colarossi is also the publication's editor.

"We do not print in official school publications information which conflicts ... in any way with the totality of the Church's teachings," Colarossi said.

Rupert-Sullivan said Notre Dame Prep alumnae coordinator Shawn Osmeyer told her the school now plans to immediately inform alumnae when their submission will be omitted. But she also said the school's headmistress, Sister Patricia McCarron, politely told her in a conversation on Monday that Notre Dame Prep has no plans to change its publications policy.

Despite recent comments by Pope Francis suggesting a more open stance toward the LGBT community, the Catholic Church remains opposed to same-sex marriage. The pope also reportedly supported a bishop speaking out against adoption by same-sex couples in Malta in December.

"On one hand, we love and value every member of our community, like the gospel says," Colarossi said. "But on the other hand, we have to uphold Catholic doctrine as an official ministry of the Catholic Church. That is also what the pope says. He's not changing Catholic doctrine."

Rupert-Sullivan — who doesn't identify as Catholic and says she was sent to Notre Dame Prep because her parents thought it seemed like "a forward-thinking school" — said the religion-based policy only seems to go so far.

"The weddings that are listed are not Catholic-only," she said. "I got a message from a woman on Facebook that was married, divorced and did not have her first marriage annulled. So technically her second marriage is also a sin, and therefore her child was born illegitimately. NDP happily published both of those things."

And while Rupert-Sullivan's petition now has more than 900 signatures, she said she doubts her goal will be achieved. But she also said she is now focused on the larger issues at stake.

"My other goal was to make sure no other student, whether it be current or past, feels like they are the only ones left out," she said. "At this point, I can only push on. I can't just quietly settle down."

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