Minn. gay-marriage supporter denied confirmation
BARNESVILLE, Minn. (AP) — A teenager who posted his support for same-sex marriage online has been denied a Catholic rite of passage at his northwestern Minnesota church, his family said.
Shana Cihak said her 17-year-old son, Lennon, wasn't allowed to be confirmed at Assumption Church in Barnesville last month after posting a Facebook picture of himself with a political sign he altered to oppose the marriage amendment on Minnesota's ballot. Voters on Nov. 6 rejected the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Assumption Rev. Gary LaMoine told The Associated Press Thursday that the teen was not denied confirmation but declined to explain, calling it an “internal and pastoral” matter.
“Some people chose to run out into the public and put it out in the media,” LaMoine told the AP, adding that he was consulting with the Catholic Diocese of Crookston about the issue.
Shana Cihak tells The Forum she was called into a private conversation with the priest after the Facebook photo was posted and was told her son wouldn't be allowed to complete confirmation. Lennon has gone to church every week and volunteered around the community in preparation for his confirmation this year, Shana Cihak said.
Lennon said other students in his confirmation class “liked” the photo on Facebook, but they were still allowed to be confirmed.
“I just thought it was wrong to single him out,” his mother said.
Her husband, Doug Cihak, said the family is not allowed to participate in Communion at Assumption. He insisted that he's not mad at LaMoine, explaining that the priest is just a “messenger” of the church.
Lennon said the experience hasn't altered his faith.
“I don't want the church to be put down. I don't want the Catholic religion to be put down,” he said. “It's just the way the priest has things running. He's so strict. He won't loosen up about things.”
Shana Cihak said she was confirmed at the same church, but doesn't plan to return to Assumption.