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Category: Education

Mississippi Prom Cancelled After Same-Sex Date Request—ACLU Files Suit

March 15, 2010

A Mississippi prom has received ongoing coverage – not for mean girls or outlandish get-ups, but because a student asked permission to bring another student as a date, and both of them are women. 18-year-old Constance McMillen challenged a school policy prohibiting her from bringing her girlfriend as her date to the April 2 prom, and also asked to wear a tuxedo to the dance. In a statement released Wednesday, the school board stated that, because the controversy caused "distractions to the educational process" the prom would be canceled, and said they hoped a private group would host the event. By "educational process," does the board mean, "making sure same-sex couples learn that attending public events is not appropriate"? Pretty much. An ACLU statement quotes Itawamba's assistant principal, who told McMillen that she and her girlfriend might be thrown out if their presence made any other students “uncomfortable.” The ACLU of Mississippi filed suit in federal court against the Itawamba County School District, asking the judge to reverse the school board's cancellation of the prom. The lawsuit alleges district officials have violated McMillen's first amendment right of free expression. Since the controversy began, McMillen described the school's atmosphere as "tense." "I had someone say, 'Thanks for ruining my senior year,' " she said. Although McMillen says she wasn't seeking out coverage of her protest, she recognizes the impact her case could have on nationwide perspectives about LGBT rights: "Now other kids are going to know that they have rights, too," she said. Watch a video of the accidental prom trailblazer Constance McMillen here:

Tags: LGBT