Dominic Sheahan-Stahl was approached by the Sacred Heart Academy back in the fall to give the keynote address at the high school graduation on May 20.
The Morning Sun
says a teacher who spoke to Dominic’s mother, Kathy Sheahan Stahl, at parent-teacher conferences, asked if her son could speak to the graduating class.
Sheahan-Stahl, a 1998 Sacred Heart graduate himself, says he was thrilled to be asked, because his youngest brother was graduating.
Sheahan-Stahl wasn't the only one thrilled.
"I was honored that they asked my son to do it, and Dominic was excited to do it. He didn't think that the issue would come up," said Dominic's mother, Sheahan-Stahl told TV5.
But, the issue did come up. The school found out he was gay — he’s been out for 14 years— after reading on Facebook about his engagement to his partner, Nathan.
Starnes told Sheahan-Stahl's mother that due to the fact that he was gay and "had a picture and a status on Facebook that says so" (referring to engagement pictures and announcements), he was no longer welcome to speak.
Sacred Heart officials told him that if he hadn’t overshared on Facebook, there wouldn’t have been a problem.
That's how Dominic Sheahan-Stahl learned he couldn't speak at the graduation of his youngest brother, William.
His mother says what's happening with her son hits home. She suffers from cerebral palsy and because of her condition, she says she raised her children, not to discriminate.
"My mother kept asking why and what does his sexual orientation have to do with giving a graduation speech," Sheahan-Stahl says, according to the Huffington Post
. "She cried and didn't sleep at all that night. My poor brother, whose graduation it is, couldn't even be in the room when my mom had to tell me. Even my sister cried herself to sleep that night."
"I was pretty upset with the decisions that were made," says William Sheahan-Stahl, Dominic's younger brother. He is graduating from Sacred Heart this year and was looking forward to hearing his big brother speak to his graduating class.
"SHA is acting appropriate!" user Julie 60 said online. "Why would they want someone speaking on behalf of the "Church & School" teachings that Don't Live by the teachings...The Bible teaches Homosexuality is a SIN & you will go to Hell. So, be what you want, but, don't attack the Church or School for their beliefs!"
But not everyone agrees with the school. A Facebook
page called "Let Dominic Speak" has nearly 5,000 "likes" in support of Dominic Sheahan-Stahl.
"My mom has always taught us to love unconditionally," said Sheahan-Stahl, according to the Huffington Post.
"I am lucky that at 32 this is the first time I've truly been discriminated against, but some kids go through this day in and day out. I want those kids to know that they are loved and that the world needs what they have to give."