SAN PEDRO — A group of Roman Catholics and feminists who are opposed to abortion have called for a demonstration this morning outside Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church to support a 17-year-old honor student who has been barred from graduation at the adjacent Mary Star of the Sea High School because she is pregnant and unmarried.
Dale Nobel, who helped organize the protest, said the demonstration is intended to show church officials that Catholics do not agree with the decision to prohibit Lisa Martinez, a straight-A student and vice president of the student body, from participating in commencement.
"We love our church, but we feel the statement this sends out in denying Lisa the right to graduate with her class is inconsistent with the statements made by the archbishop," said Nobel, who is a member of the St. Brendan's parish in the Wilshire District. "He has spoken out very many times about pro-life issues and against abortion."
Archbishop Roger M. Mahony said last week that he has set up a committee to look into the dispute, which he expects can be resolved before graduation on Friday. "Fortunately, the graduation is still a week off so we still have time to reach what we feel would be a good compromise and would settle the needs of everybody," Mahony said.