A Long Island high school will not allow same-sex couples at its senior prom next month, according to school officials.
St. Anthony's high school in South Huntington is a co-ed, Roman Catholic institution of about 2,500 students.
One of those students, Angelina Lange, 17, of Bay Shore, requested permission to bring a former girlfriend as her date to the prom.
School officials turned her down.
"We thought it would send a mixed message to OK her request," said school principal and Franciscan, Brother Gary.
"Our Catholic faith specifies that marriage involves a man and a woman and our policies on dating must reflect that," he added.
Lange was the first student to put forth such a request at the school that was founded in 1933, according to Brother Gary.
Lange, described by the principal as a well-respected student, has accepted the decision but doesn't regret making her plight public.
"Maybe this coming to light will help someone down the road," she said.
An advocate for gay and lesbian youth called the school's decision a kind of "bullying."
"The message is that the school doesn't really care about its students and that's not a good message," said James Fallarino of the Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Services Network.
"I think Angelina should be allowed to bring whoever she wants," said Christian Greco, a fellow senior at the school.
Several parents waiting to pick up students outside the school agreed.
"Who does it hurt?" said one father, who refused to give his name.
While gay advocates may consider St. Anthony's policies discriminatory, the school is under no obligation to change them because it is a private institution, said Fallarino.
"We mean no malice or disrespect," said Brother Gary. "But this is an important part of our faith and we must stand by it."