Yearbook removes picture of lesbian couple holding hands

Posted at 10:50 PM, Mar 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-12 22:50:07-04

(CNN) Debate over pictures selected for a Colorado high school yearbook is creating controversy and making headlines.

At least two yearbook staffers have quit over what they say are unethical decisions by their adviser.

"In these words exactly, you either cut the gay couple or I cut the page,” said Rudolpho Tribulio, former yearbook staffer at Palmer.

Tribulio and Anna Carmichael, former yearbook editor, say their yearbook advisor told them that a lesbian couple holding hands could not be on a page they were creating about high school relationships.

The school district says there is another reason.

"When the photographs came back from that page there was too much PDA and that is against Palmer's policy,” said Devra Ashby, District 11 Public Information Officer

A look through last year's yearbook shows several forms of public displays of affection.

Compare that to the picture students say was considered out of bounds.

"Regardless of any type of situation within the photograph. If there's PDA, it goes against policy. It's going to get cut,” said Ashby.

Tribulio said that at that point, the relationship page was cut and replaced by a page called diversity.

"I think it was a vision of the class to do a page that was focused on diversity and to do a collage of all the diverse cultures, backgrounds, histories of the students over at Palmer,” said Ashby.

But Carmichael says the yearbook advisor came up with a new restriction.

“No names, only the labels. So for a picture of a Muslim, she wanted to label them as a Muslim,” said Carmichael.

But District 11 says the diversity page was supposed to be more of a collage, and would not have encouraged segregation.

"No way that we would discriminate in any way shape or form, nor find that right or appropriate,” said Ashby.