Keaton Fuller, a senior at Prince of Peace High School in Clinton, Iowa.
An openly gay student in Iowa says he hopes a Catholic bishop will reconsider and let a gay rights advocacy group present a $40,000 scholarship to him during his graduation ceremony.
“Everybody at the school has always been very accepting and extremely encouraging toward me,” Keaton Fuller, a senior at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, Iowa, told msnbc.com. “That’s why the latest turn of events has been such a surprise — I feel invalidated and unaccepted.”
Bishop Martin Amos in Davenport, Iowa, overruled school officials last week, saying he would not allow the Des Moines-based Eychaner Foundation to present its Matthew Shepard 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.
Fuller, 18, said he was stunned: The bishop’s decision comes after a Prince of Peace school official confirmed the award could be presented by an Eychaner scholarship committee member during the school’s graduation ceremony on May 20. The Matthew Shepard Scholarship is given to students who are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Attempts by msnbc.com to contact Amos or officials with the Diocese of Davenport were unsuccessful on Tuesday. A school official referred calls to Edward O’Neill, president of Prince of Peace’s school board, who could not be reached for comment.
“At some point, we hope they realize and agree for us to present the award because it is the right thing to do,” said Mike Bowser, a spokesman with the Eychaner Foundation.
Iowa businessman and gay rights activist Rich Eychaner founded the activism group and has awarded more than 130 Matthew Shepard scholarships to graduating high school seniors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender since 2000. It is named for the gay Wyoming college student killed in 1998.
“The $40,000 scholarship to the University of Iowa was awarded to Keaton for his scholastic achievement and work reducing homophobia in his
This article originally appeared on: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/08/11584562-gay-student-catholic-school-should-relent-on-matthew-shepard-scholarship