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Miss. School Axes Prom After Lesbian Date Request

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Fox: A northern Mississippi school district decided Wednesday not to host a high school prom after a lesbian student demanded she be able to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.

The Itawamba County school district's policy requires that senior prom dates be of the opposite sex. The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi had given the district until Wednesday to change that policy and allow 18-year-old Constance McMillen to escort her girlfriend, who is also a student, to the dance on April 2.

Instead, the school board met and issued a statement announcing it wouldn't host the event at Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Fulton, "due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events."

The statement didn't mention McMillen or the ACLU. When asked by The Associated Press if McMillen's demand led to the cancellation, school board attorney Michele Floyd said she could only reference the statement.

"It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors," district officials said in the statement. "However, at this time, we feel that it is in the best interest of the Itawamba County School District, after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students."

The ACLU said a school policy banning same-sex prom dates violated McMillen's constitutional rights.

Kristy Bennett, legal director for the ACLU of Mississippi, said the district was trying to avoid the issue.

"But that doesn't take away their legal obligations to treat all the students fairly," Bennett said. "On Constance's behalf, this is unfair to her. All she's trying to do is assert her rights."

Bennett said she wouldn't allow McMillen to comment on Wednesday, saying "she's still trying to process" the district's actions. Calls to McMillen's cell phone went unanswered.

Itawamba County is a rural area of about 23,000 people in north Mississippi near the Alabama state line. It borders Pontotoc County, Miss., where more than a decade ago school officials were sued in federal court over their practice of student-led intercom prayer and Bible classes.

Anna Watson, a 17-year-old junior at the high school, was looking forward to the prom, especially since the town's only hotspot is the bowling alley, she said.

"I am a little bummed out about it. I guess it's a decision that had to be made. Either way someone was going to get disappointed -- either Constance was or we were," Watson said. "I don't agree with homosexuality, but I can't change what another person thinks or does."

Other students are on McMillen's side.

McKenzie Chaney, 16, said she wasn't planning to attend the prom, but "it's kind of ridiculous that they can't let her wear the tuxedo and it all be over with."

A Feb. 5 memo to students laid out the criteria for bringing a date to the prom, and one requirement was that the person must be of the opposite sex.

The ACLU said McMillen approached school officials shortly before the memo went out because she knew same-sex dates had been banned in the past. The ACLU said district officials told McMillen she and her girlfriend wouldn't be allowed to arrive together, that she would not be allowed to wear a tuxedo, and that she and her girlfriend might be asked to leave if their presence made any other students "uncomfortable."

McMillen said she feared she would be thrown out of the prom because "we do live in the Bible Belt."

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11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Arisma March 11, 2010, 7:17 AM

No matter how bigoted and hateful administrators/parents are, kids will still be gay, just like adults are. It’s just cruel to pretend there are choices here. It’s like trying to regulate blue eyes, if they’re there, they’re there. It’s unreal that in 2010 we’re still concerned with such petty things. What changes could we make in the world if we stopped worrying about such stupidity and focused on the real challenges facing us?

G March 11, 2010, 11:39 AM

In God We Trust. One Nation Under God. God made Adam & Eve Not Adam & Steve. Men with Men or Women with Women cannot procreate & it is not “Normal” or natural. It is an Abomination. Quit pushing perversion on us!

Daniel March 11, 2010, 12:16 PM

They were right to cancel the prom instead of allowing 2 perverts, committing acts of abomination under the standards of God Almighty. Homosexuality is disgusting, a crime against nature, an abomination. YES…I said God Almighty earlier…so all you liberal, godless, all is relative people can get fired up and jump around and act all superior and “wise”. Sadly….your judgement will come quickly and the God you deny will be undeniable…and right in front of you deciding your eternal fate. You will have no pride, arrogance or trash to talk then.

Bertha March 11, 2010, 1:17 PM

G AND Daniel quit huffing gasoline and posting nonsense online.

Kelly March 11, 2010, 3:25 PM

I believe in God and I believe that everyone has the right to love who they choose. It’s wrong to ban same sex dates and it’s going along the same lines as the segregation of blacks and whites. Before you know it there will be different water fountains and schools! It’s wrong and there’s no way around it in a sense anyone who calls homosexuals ‘abominations’ is being prejudice. There will be a time in our future when we will read about the segregation of straights and gays and we’ll turn to our friends and talk about what idiots those people in 2010 were!

Anonymous March 11, 2010, 9:26 PM

Seriously, the South is so BAckwaRds! Some1 better f’ing pay for these kids to have a prom! I would if I could-I was, Maxie’s Date to the Prom! and you know what if we made out on the dance floor I bet you no1 woulda stopped us! I love NY! omg what is wrong with the world…. Gays/Transgenders etc are like the new targets for hate. I want it to Stop! NOW!

You can’t stop change and you can’t stop ppl from being who they are. The public school system and everyone in the world needs to stop trying to censor it!

Like they did with that Adam Lambert, Idol singer…and I don’t even like him but, ya know what CBS or NBC like canceled his appearances after he kissed a guy on tv during a show. SO WHAT! When it was Madonna and Brittany did they have fewer tv appearance or even when Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock were poking fun at it and kinda kissed at an awards show this Year it was so funny b/c they’re straight?! UM okay?!

Like how is that ok? does that make sense? So, your (public) more comfortable with two straight women kissing but not two gay men or seeing two gay women go to the prom together, one in a tux-??? What is wrong with ppl??

All I know, there will always be some1 offended by some1’s behavior-not every1 will be happy-all I’m saying is you can’t prevent change, you can’t censor it and you can’t have double standards.

“This district is sending a clear message to the students…It’s ok to
discriminate against and exclude others because of their personal
preferences.This is your government issued education, America. Scary,
isn’t it?”-Rose

Some1 repost this tell your friends and discuss this story so that it gets to a person who has a huge wallet and can give this school a Senior Prom-Gay, Straight or other. Cuz ya know what “they” are in your community, family and work place and they ain’t going nowhere get use to it and maybe just maybe the world will become a more tolerant place and one day it will be normal to see same sex marriage and families around your neighborhood and throughout the world without a blink of an eye =)

You hateful ppl who talk all this Adam & Eve crap JESUS would be ashamed of you! Forgive them Lord they know not what they do. The God I learned about at church and Catholic School wasn’t a hateful God and when I read in the book they say was written by Man with Gods influence was taken out of context and taken to an extreme by ppl like you-I decided that God would never HATE anyone no matter their color, creed or sexuality. PPL like YOU all PPL who are Extremist are what is wrong with this world. Not the Gays, Lesbians, Trany’s, other religions or Liberals. Ignorance and Hate is what kills and you are apart of the problem. Not them. I’m a happily married women and I’m lucky to have fallen in love with man b/c thats “normal” to society if I had married a women I would still be writing this and I would still raise my voice to ignorance b/c ignorance needs to silenced!

A girl can dream and its starts with you. Read this story and be apart of change. No matter your belief DON’T HATE!

unknown March 13, 2010, 1:24 AM

God doesnt judge so why does everyone judge on two ppl that wanna go to prom together. thats crazy. its their prom let them GO!

Chris March 13, 2010, 7:44 PM

G and Daniel. Please keep your religion to yourselves. I cannot buy that people are pushing their perversions on you. If you think that we all get an exit review with some reverential sky daddy, then please leave us to do what we judge fit, and you keep out of the way and keep your mouth shut about it. Its our lives not yours. Of course the reason for your angst over this is you’re simply too tempted by this supposed perversion, and you feel your faith is not strong enough to abstain. If you lack the self control to not do something you believe is amoral you have bigger problems than a young woman trying to enjoy the best days of her life, and I suggest you see your spiritual leader immediately and tell him you have lost your tolerance and compassion for other people.

Anonymous March 15, 2010, 7:51 AM

I went out to a sports bar this weekend that had a live band and most of the people dancing were girls with girls. A lot of times, you can’t get men up to dance but most girls like to dance. No big deal!

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