MS School Cancels Prom Over Lesbian Date; ACLU Sues
The ACLU is suing a Mississippi High School – which cancelled its prom, rather than let a lesbian wear a tux and bring a female date.
The group had demanded that the Itawamba County school district allow 18-year-old Constance McMillen to attend the event with a same-sex date. Rather than permit that – the school board announced Wednesday the district will not be hosting the prom AT ALL this year.
ACLU of Mississippi legal director Kristy Bennett says the school has made an already stressful environment for McMillen even worse.
Bennett: “She said that it was a little tense – that some of the students wouldn’t look her in the eye, and she feels like people were talking about it. Nobody talked to her face-to-face, but it was being discussed, and that was uncomfortable for her.”
District officials said they hoped PRIVATE citizens would host a prom. Bennett said the district was probably inspired by the racially segregated private proms that still take place in the state to this day.
Bennett: “That’s where we feel like the idea came from – that if you want to host a private prom then you can invite whoever you want an exclude whoever you want – but in that vein, we’ve had an outpouring of support for Constance, and people wanting to contribute to putting on a private prom that she can bring her girlfriend to.”
In fact, McMillen’s supporters have been posting her story to the Ellen DeGeneres Show’s facebook page -and asking Ellen to help.
Bennett says she’s still holding out hope the school will un-cancel its prom, and allow McMillen to attend with her girlfriend. The ACLU’s lawsuit asks a court to order the school to do just that.