Thanks to a policy revision by the National Dance Council of America (NDCA), the notoriously conservative Brigham Young University in Utah will allow same-sex couples to participate in an annual ballroom dance competition, despite it being against the school’s Honor Code.
According to a report by The Salt Lake Tribune, the Mormon-owned university made the adjustment after coming under fire over the past couple of months for its decision to not allow same-sex couples to compete in the United States National Amateur DanceSport Championships. The event is considered the United States’ “top amateur ballroom championship.”
The Salt Lake Tribune calls the move “a major concession” as it goes against the school’s Honor Code that forbids same-sex relationships and “all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” The university doesn’t even allow two men to dance with each other for practice.
Before this concession, the university had earlier refused to abide by the NCDA’s revised policy allowing same-sex or gender-neutral couples to compete, choosing to instead host “an all-amateur event” governed by their policies. This, of course, resulted in a public outcry, culminating with U.S. senior champions Katerina and Xingmin Lu not taking part in the competition. While Katerina and Xingmin are straight and dance as opposite-sex partners, Katerina said that not allowing same-sex couples to compete meant not competing against the best in the field.
This may have been the final straw that changed the university’s mind, as a few days later, they announced they would be abiding by the NCDA’s rules. Carri Jenkins, the school’s spokesperson, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the “magnitude of the competition” required “adherence to all NDCA rules and regulations.”
While this may be a huge step for the competition, it, unfortunately, has little effect on the school’s policies. Same-sex partnerships are still not allowed in the university and its ballroom classes.