- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Michigan high school is in hot water with conservatives after canceling a speech from former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, because he supports traditional marriage.

Mr. Santorum, a former senator and a social conservative who opposes gay marriage, was scheduled to speak to more than 1,700 students at Grosse Pointe High School near Detroit later this month, but Superintendent Thomas Harwood canceled the April 24 engagement after Santorum’s camp refused to let him review a copy of the speech, according to The Detroit News. The school was afraid he would deliver an anti-gay message to the students, because of his beliefs.

“The district just wanted to make sure the speech was focused on leadership. And when they were unwilling to review the speech, we couldn’t allow them to come,” District spokeswoman Rebecca Fannon told The Detroit News on Wednesday.

“As a public school system, we must be neutral, and we can’t impose a position that is not neutral during a school activity during the school day,” she said.

But Mr. Santorum’s camp says the school’s decision to cancel his speaking engagement is a politically-motivated move that is anything but neutral.

“It’s a sad day when liberal educators are allowed to influence young minds — extending free speech rights only to those who share their liberal views,” Mr. Santorum posted on his Facebook page. “The cancellation of my speech in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, later this month has nothing to do with the content of a speech, but rather the context of my convictions.”

Mr. Harwood informed principal Matt Outlaw and student Peter Fox, who represents the school’s Young Americans for Freedom student organization, which invited Mr. Santorum to speak, of the decision earlier this week.

Jenny Nolan, chairman of the Eastside Republican Party, told The Detroit News that the school was censoring alternative views from students.

“If we disagree with someone’s opinion, we shut them down. We don’t even listen to them. That’s a really bad way to go in this country. We need to listen to all voices. Especially our kids need to listen to all voices,” she said.

“Kudos to the kids who got a national figure to come speak at the school. They deserve a lot of credit for doing that. I am surprised the school would shut it down,” Ms. Nolan added.

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