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Catholic high school nixes 'political' speech of openly gay valedictorian

Valedictorian Christian Bales, 18, said he is unsure whether his sexual orientation played any role in the decision not to permit him to speak at graduation.
by Brooke Sopelsa /

A Catholic diocese in Kentucky ruled just hours before Holy Cross High School’s graduation that the openly gay valedictorian and the student council president couldn't give their planned speeches at the official graduation ceremony.

Diocese of Covington spokesman Tim Fitzgerald told news outlets the students' speeches weren't submitted on time, and upon review "were political and inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church."

The valedictorian, Christian Bales, 18, told NBC affiliate WLWT that he did not think his speech — which he said was “about empowerment through youth” — “was very polarizing.” He also said he is unsure whether his sexual orientation played any role in the decision not to permit him to speak at graduation.

"I honestly have no idea, because what I've been taught about the Catholic faith is that it's about love and tolerance and acceptance of all people," Bales told WLWT.

Bales' mother, Gillian Marksberry, said her son and the student council president, Katherine Frantz, believed their speeches were approved, before being told otherwise the morning of their Friday graduation.

In lieu of giving their speech at the official graduation ceremony, the two students grabbed megaphones and delivered them outside afterward.

Bales speech, which has been posted online in its entirety, starts with the line, “The young people win win.”

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