Miss. school prom off after lesbian's date request. ACLU at work again!

Miss. school prom off after lesbian's date request. ACLU at work again!

AP – This 2009 photo released by Constance McMillen's family via The ACLU of Mississippi, taken in Fulton, …
By SHELIA BYRD, Associated Press Writer Shelia Byrd, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 44 mins ago

JACKSON, Miss. – A northern Mississippi school district will not be hosting a high school prom this spring after a lesbian student sought to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.

The Itawamba County school district's board decided Wednesday to drop the prom because of what it called recent distractions but without specifically mentioning the girl's request, which was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The student, 18-year-old high school senior Constance McMillen, said the cancellation was retaliation for her efforts to bring her girlfriend, also a student, to the April 2 dance.

"A bunch of kids at school are really going to hate me for this, so in a way it's really retaliation," McMillen told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson. Calls to McMillen by The Associated Press late Wednesday went unanswered.

School policy requires that senior prom dates be of the opposite sex. The ACLU of Mississippi had given the district until Wednesday to change that policy, arguing that banning same-sex prom dates violated McMillen's constitutional rights.

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."

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."

Itawamba County is a rural area of about 23,000 people in north Mississippi near the Alabama state line. It's near 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."

6 Comments

4 years 33 weeks ago, 4:52 PM

ecaman

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Member comments?

What do members think of this? I'm curious to see if there are very many people who say that it doesn't matter what someone's sexual preference is. I realize that the majority of members are quite conservative politically, but I'm curious as to whether this also applies to what is often perceived as someone's personal freedom, and the exercise of what they believe to be their individual rights.
I'll start it off by saying that I don't give a damn what someone else's personal choice is as to their sexual preference. I've always resented it if a male homosexual would not stop hitting on me after I'd told them that I was exclusively herterosexual, but if they didn't do that, if they respected my choice, then we could get along. Once I even badly hurt a guy who wouldn't stop putting his hands on me. I told him to stop a couple of times, then I just snapped.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. (Mark Twain).
4 years 33 weeks ago, 5:00 PM

Vaquero

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ecaman

I support the schools decision.
I have not been hit on by another man.
'course, I grew up in the buckle of the bible belt.
Gays got plenty of room way out west,
if you don't like the scenery, you move.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
4 years 33 weeks ago, 5:05 PM

HampsterW

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Agreed ecamen

I don't give a ratts ass about a persons sexual affiliation although I find it
somewhat disgusting when the flaunt it openly, I feel the same way about
heterosexuals that can't seem to keep their hands off of each other in
public, there is a time and a place for everything.

Change you can truly believe in comes from the barrel of a gun---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ron Paul 2012----Vote the bastards out!---------------------------------
4 years 33 weeks ago, 6:04 PM

hillbilly77

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American media and television are making it cool to be gay and the kids watch all there shows and they have their token gay kids on it. This country needs to pick up their bibles and get back to our roots. Back in the day they were afraid to come out of those closets, and that should be that way again. I always say Adam and Eve not adam and steve or eve and evet. Good for this school teaching morals.

“If ever time should come,when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of it's experienced Patriots to prevent it's ruin."Samuel Adams
4 years 30 weeks ago, 4:19 PM

Pkato

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While I understand they just want to be who they think they are however...what they were attempting to do, was exactly what they perceive being done to them...we should not force personal views on others...why? If they want to be gay...well, have their own special get -together...on private ground, hell, maybe most of the kids in the school would show up anyway...if they don't care, then I don't care. I don't see them as less human, but let's face it...they are still a very small minority of the population.

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
4 years 30 weeks ago, 4:42 PM

ecaman

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Pkato I agree with you that homosexuals are a small minority of the population. Throughout out my life (70 years) I've been associated with people from all walks of life, and from many ethnicities. I've never observed that more than a very few are homosexual. I fully realize than more might have been, but due to social and societal pressures they kept it very quiet, so I didn't realize it. The homosexuals that I've known have tended to congregate together among others who share their feelings.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. (Mark Twain).
samD's picture
Posted by: samD
4 years 33 weeks ago
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