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Advocacy group banned from presenting scholarship to gay teen at awards ceremony

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CLINTON, Iowa — A Catholic school in Iowa has refused to allow a gay rights advocacy group to present a $40,000 scholarship to an openly gay senior during his upcoming graduation ceremony.

The Prince of Peace Catholic School said it would not allow Keaton Fuller to receive the Des Moines-based Eychaner Foundation’s “Matthew Shepard Scholarship” at his school awards ceremony May 20, even though the school confirmed the award could be presented by a scholarship committee member two months ago.

Keaton Fuller

The Matthew Shepard Scholarship grants $40,000 to an openly LGBT high school student who will be attending the University of Iowa. According to Eychaner Foundation Executive Director Michael Bowser, Fuller won the scholarship based on his academic work, as well as his efforts to reduce homophobia at school and in his community.

Bishop Martin Amos in Davenport, Iowa, overruled school officials, and said he would not allow the Foundation to present its scholarship to Fuller because the group’s support of gay rights conflicts with church doctrine. Instead, a school staff member will present the scholarship at the assembly.

Filler, 18, said he was stunned by the decision.

“Everybody at the school has always been very accepting and extremely encouraging toward me,” Fuller told MSNBC. “That’s why the latest turn of events has been such a surprise — I feel invalidated and unaccepted.”

Fuller and his parents Randy and Patricia Fuller, said Keaton was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by the Catholic school, and that Prince of Peace issued a signed statement that a Committee Member would be allowed to present the award to Fuller at the ceremony if he was selected for the scholarship.

“We had faith that their written agreement would mean something.” said Bowser.

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Filed under: Iowa

24 more reader comments:


    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:29pm
  2. Typical Catholics :(

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:29pm
  3. And I thought schools are suppose to provide as many opportunities to its students. SMh

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:29pm
  4. See … THIS is the type of bullshit that caused me to leave the Catholic Church and become a liberal Protestant.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:30pm
  5. i am catholic…… i need to make a call…… my people my people…..god does not hate…..what’s their number…..

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:31pm
  6. What’s that I hear? Shh… LAWSUIT!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:31pm
  7. when are people just gonna stop all the bull

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:32pm
  8. There was a petition floating around on the interwebs in support of the young man… try to find it and sign it as I did… probably from

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:35pm
  9. so much gay discrimination still around I wonder if it has really gotten any better since I was a teen?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:37pm
  10. There are no words, none.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:41pm
  11. Stupid Catholics! Instead worrying about us, they should worry about the pedophile priests they’re hiding.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:45pm
  12. i think gay businesses, churches, etc should start banning straight things….. being straight is a choice and i don’t agree with it….

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 8:45pm
  13. WWJD?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 9:01pm
  14. what is the world coming to?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 9:10pm
  15. The Churches have soooooooo crossed the line. Remove their tax exempt status now. Period.. They want to be in the business of politics and social judgement pay up faaaaooools.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 9:12pm
  16. Did anyone else see the irony that the school is called “Prince of Peace Catholic School?” Where’s the peace in what they’re doing?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 9:27pm
  17. A shocking amount of hypocrisy and discrimination that a student should be denied a prestigious scholarship to award his academic achievements and support his academic career. Despite that, I must ask any and all who see this headline to READ THE STORY IN FULL AND CLEARLY. This particular incident was not the school’s fault, not entirely. As the student himself said, the school was encouraging and supportive, and in no way discriminatory (the school encouraged him to apply, and signed an agreement); the fault lies only in church hierarchy that allowed the bishop to override the decisions of the school officials. Credit should be given where it is due; the school needn’t take the blame for this.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 10:27pm
  18. And, ironically, by denying the presentation of the scholarship in Iowa…. now EVERYONE nationwide now knows about this. Goes to show the homophobes, when they discriminate, they only shed more light on their hatred and hypocrisy.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 11:02pm
  19. Fair enough Geoffrey – but the church has no business being in the business (and that’s what it is for them, a nice wad of income) of education. It comes at a price, which is their poisonous ideology being forced onto children.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 1:09am
  20. When this kind of thing happens, I’m reminded of that moment in the bible when Christ draws a line in the sand and tells the men that were going to stone the adulterous women if they were without sin they should step over the line and be the first to cast a stone. And then they all walked away, unable to do so.

    Jesus stood up for the sinners, the unwanted, the different, and the forgotten. Everyone focuses too much on a vengeful God and not enough on a caring, forgiving, and accepting God. If churches really wanted to convert more people they’d spend less time singling people out and more time trying to let more in.

    Everyone sins. Everyone. Just because you think it’s gross doesn’t make it any worse than you lying to your kids about whatever thing you lie about to save face.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 2:11am
  21. People that attend churches have the right to believe in the invisible man, so why can’t people love or believe in someone thats real, no matter what their sex?

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 2:15am
  22. And the moral of the story is, don’t go to a Catholic school.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 5:08am
  23. not to take away from the story. The story makes it sound like he wont get the scholarship at all. I am sure he will still get the scholarship, just not during a ceremony.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 5:37am
  24. The thing with overly religeous people and groups is that they take portions of the old testament and use it to fit what they are trying to back up. The problem with this is, the context at which they are using the statement(s) reminds of the parable of the Scribes and the Pharosese. The Bishop should also focus on teh statements “Judge not for ye shall be judged”, “Be careful how you entertain strangers, for some have entertained Angels unaware”, “Love your Neighbor as you Love yourself”
    If you REALLY want to focus and live your life like the Old Testament from the Bible, then you shouldn’t eat pork, shell fish, have chees on your burgers, eat yogurt with fruit in it, and a whole host of other things. All this because he is in a Catholic school and receiving a scholarship from a Gay organization. Learn to pick your battles………

    Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 6:06am