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Protests Over Gay Speaker Close Catholic School

A North Carolina Catholic school was closed Friday as a result of controversy surrounding an openly gay Durham City Council member who had been scheduled to speak at a school event. WRAL’s Ken Smith reports.

 

(WRAL) A Durham, North Carolina Catholic school was closed Friday as a result of controversy surrounding an openly gay Durham City Council member who had been scheduled to speak at a school event.

Councilwoman Vernetta Alston, who was listed as a speaker at a Black History Month celebration scheduled for Friday at Immaculata Catholic School. Alston, who graduated from Immaculata, is openly gay.

In a letter to parents Thursday, Fr. Christopher VanHaight, pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, said that several groups were planning demonstrations at the school to voice opinions about Alston.

“As a pastor, I cannot place our Immaculata students into this contentious environment,” VanHaight said of the planned demonstrations.

Alston couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, but in a statement released Thursday night, she said that she is “deeply disappointed” that she and others “were uninvited to the school’s Black History Month celebration and that the event was altogether canceled.”

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