MILWAUKEE – Students at Marquette University are moving forward with plans for a "Pride Prom" celebrating the school's LGBT community despite an online petition from a Catholic group asking the Jesuit school to block it.
Marquette University's LGBTQ+ Resource Center promoted Saturday's event as a way to celebrate diversity and "foster support, inclusiveness and value for individuals of all identities."
University officials on Friday stood by the event in the wake of protests from Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) Student Action, a national group that said it had more than 18,500 signatures on its petition asking for the prom to be canceled. TFP argued the event would undermine Catholic moral values.
"Homosexuality is a moral disorder and therefore should not have a place of pride in Catholic education," said TFP Student Action director John Ritchie.
University officials declined an interview request, instead issuing a statement saying the school supports its LGBT community.
"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed that there is no room for discrimination in the Catholic Church, and we will continue to make progress through inclusivity," the statement said.
A handful of students at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center were busy Friday finalizing plans for the dance. It will be held two floors above the center at the Alumni Memorial Union.
Kaitlin Majeski, a 22-year-old senior from Algonquin, Illinois, said she found it difficult to understand the opposition.
"If we were preaching the idea of cura personalis, caring for the whole person, for Marquette to stand behind Pride Prom is living up to the idea," Majeski said. "The opposition is coming from a community of Catholics. That's disheartening because what it comes down to is loving each other and loving other people."