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Rural Indiana town's gay prom ban sparks controversy

An effort to hold a prom that specifically excludes gay couples has landed a rural Indiana high school in the national spotlight.

A group of students and parents want to ban gays from prom at an Indiana high school.

The proposal has caught fire on the Internet and has received national - and even international - attention.

After Terre Haute TV station WTWO covered a meeting Sunday night of a small group from Sullivan High School planning a gay-free prom - Monday has been all about damage control. From the church that opened its doors to the group for that meeting to the school defending it's A-plus name after being called "bigots," no one wants their name mixed up in the mess.

Sullivan High School has earned an A for its academic excellence, but recent talk over banning gay students at the high school prom have given the school a failing image.

"The Bible says for a man to love another woman," said student Wyatt Land.

"Anybody can go to the prom," said Principal David Springer.

The controversy started with a misunderstanding about whether same-sex couples were allowed to walk in the grand march before prom.

"Of course, a girl could go out with another girl or if they didn't have a date or that was their choice," Springer said.

That sparked another group to rise up in opposition, wanting to ban gays at the school-sanctioned prom. But when they saw the school wasn't going to budge and allow that, they decided to hold their own prom - an alternative prom that would be gay-free.

Sunday night, students, parents and local church leaders met at Sullivan First Christian Church to discuss their plans and feelings.

Eyewitness News asked Diana Medley, a teacher from a different school district, if she thought homosexuals had a purpose in life.

"No, I honestly don't. Sorry, but I don't. I don't understand it," she said.

Medley's controversial statement cast a long shadow on the church and school that would stretch around the world.

"Our church has no involvement in this whatsoever. It's a community thing where people have met here," said Pastor Dale Wise at Sullivan First Christian Church.

"You should be able to go with whoever you want. You shouldn't be discriminated against for what you are, what you believe in," said Sullivan High School junior Emily Butler.

"As long as they aren't sitting there and kissing on the dance floor and grinding on each other, stuff like that, I don't have a problem with that, I don't see what's wrong with it. Prom is for everybody. It's a high school experience," Land said.

The prom is scheduled for April 27 and all students are invited to attend. There is no word on efforts for an alternative event.