March 11th, 2010
03:06 PM ET

Prom canceled over lesbian student

Constance McMillen

A Mississippi High School faces a lawsuit over its decision to cancel its prom rather than allow a lesbian high school student attend with her girlfriend.

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleges that officials at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, are violating the student's First Amendment right to freedom of expression.

The ACLU asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to reinstate the prom.

"All I wanted was the same chance to enjoy my prom night like any other student. But my school would rather hurt all the students than treat everyone fairly," said the student, 18-year-old Constance McMillen, in an ACLU news release. "This isn't just about me and my rights anymore – now I'm fighting for the right of all the students at my school to have our prom."

Officials at the Itawamba County School District were not immediately available for comment.

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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • U.S.
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Alex

    Look, people. For those of you who say that she (the lesbian who "ruined" prom) is being selfish or whatever, what you don't seem to understand that her entire school is being punished because of some morons in the school district who are homophobic. It's not fair, it's not right, and it certainly no where near fair that ANY blame what so ever is being place on this girl. It' not her fault, she didn't want the school to ban the prom, she didn't want no one else to have the prom, so why do you make it seem like she's trying to undermine the other students?

    March 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. adam

    Not the least bit shocked to see a bunch of narrow minded people running the show in Mississippi. What a joke.

    March 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. see matt

    To those who think the ACLU is a waste.

    Civil Rights: Use them or Lose them

    March 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OldTimer

    Remember when females were NOT allowed to wear pants or 2-piece bikinis at the beach.
    The Bible told us so... Now we don't read that part of the Bible...

    It took awhile, but males finally started allowing women to wear pants if they chose that manly lifestyle, against the Bible. Women faught long and hard for the freedom to wear pants, so we gave them the name SLACKS.

    If Constance McMillen was comfortable enough to bring her date to the Prom, then obviously most of her student friends were OK with it. There must of been a few cry-baby students who had daydreams of lesbian sex going on at the prom. That doesn't happen. Or a few of those cry-baby students didn't have a date in the first place.

    Friends of Constance McMillen should gather for a Prom night on their own and have the best time of their life. Hopefully 99%+ of the smart students would ONLY consider

    March 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Melissa

    I don't see why it is such a big deal. Girls went to prom together all the time when I was in high school, lesbians or not. It's a dance not like they will be having sex on the middle of the dance floor. Let's all stop over doing this and just let the kids have their prom with friends.

    March 13, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Another Brown

    I agree with Brown's comment. Why do gays and lesbians think they need to fly their flag for all the world to see. Sexual preference is nothing more than what turns you on in the bedroom. Maybe pedophiles should be given the same freedom?

    March 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Darren

    I am a straight man with a family and I still think people should be able to choose..... here we are in 2010 and some people cant understand that she was born this way..... let her have her prom! I also live in Canada where gay couples have been walking hand in hand in public for many years! Stop the hate...... its time for peace and love!

    March 13, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rick

    It is time to abolish all proms. They are an extravagant waste of money. Proms are nothing but a "show" and then off to the after party...after you change out of your $500 prom clothes that you wore for all of an hour!!

    March 13, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. A4H

    I don't know why everyone is making a big deal out of this. I graduated high school from a private school. Of of my classmate was a lesbian. Girls were required to wear a gown while the boys must wear a tuxedo. We try so many gowns, but it just didn't look right for her. One of the guys in our class suggested Carmie(that was her name) must be true to herself; guys took Carmie shopping for a tuxedo. Carmie attended the prom wearing a tuxedo and escorted 5 of her female classmates ( I was one of the 5). Our prom was very memorable to all of us especially for Carmie, it was her coming out party; in our own way we told her it is okay to be different, nothing has change how we look at her and treat her – she's the kind of friend you can lean on to when trouble comes.

    You don't have to make waves to be recognized and accepted by your peers.

    March 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nick Gold

    The sad thing is, if this story was about a school in Mississippi canceling prom because of an interracial couple wanting to attend, you'd probably have the same number of people commenting that the couple is to blame, not the school. One thing I like about message boards that attract so many intolerant people is that despite having to read a bunch of idiots' clueless hate-rantings, at least it puts it out there that bigotry is alive and well in the year 2010.

    Anyway, as someone else said, probably most other school districts in the country would NOT have taken such a step in this day and age, nobody would have been really hurt by the presence of gay or lesbians, and life would have gone on. The school officials here are the one who made it an "issue" and they should be the target of scorn.

    March 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Stacey

    What's the difference with her going to the prom with a girl or boy?? I know alot of girls that went to my childs prom with each other (about 10 of them) and they were not lesbians. So, would it have been OK if she hadn't labeled her as a "girlfriend"? This is absurd!!

    March 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TC

    The girl knew there would be problems with her asking, she knew that it would get heard, instead of buying two tickets and showing up as is without asking. I think it is not fair for all of the kids to not have a prom, even if she doesn't go. It is not the whole student bodies fault, it is the staff. This girl should back off and let them go, I know she wants to be included, but since she can't why make everyone else suffer. To me this is just another ploy to get in the news like a guy becoming high school homecoming queen.

    March 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LJ

    How would the school have been sued if they allowed a woman to bring another woman? I went to one of my high school's dance back in 2004 with a large group of girls (we're all straight, we just wanted to go with our friends instead!) and no one questioned us. Also, how do they even regulate who you bring? We would just buy the tickets as a pair and they would never ask about the other date, except their name so they could put both names on the dance souvenir decorations. They never once questioned anyone if they wrote down a person of the same gender. As a current law student, I'm not sure why she even needed to ask permission! While sexual orientation discrimination isn't protected by the Constitution, she isn't doing anything against the law and should have just bought the tickets and showed up! I'm glad I grew up in a tolerant North Eastern community and can't imagine what it would be like to be this woman. I'm not a fan of the ACLU but at least this is getting the media exposure it needs to everyone can see how backwards and intolerant some segments of this country still are. All I can hope is that the school feels the backlash from the rest of the country. Despicable.

    March 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anna

    Backwards bunch of people. This girl has every right to attend the prom with her girlfriend. What they are doing is criminal. They are teaching hate. Singling her out and teaching the other kids to hate her for spoiling the prom for everyone. THEY spoiled it not her. Wakeup folks. This same school probably cancelled prom when a black and white couple wanted to attend years back.

    March 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeanette Holtz

    I'm a high school teacher and I think the actions of the school are ridiculous. Newsflash – this girl and her girlfriend have been attending school football games, basketball games,etc. Are they going to cancel those too? Do they understand that these gay students are sitting in classrooms with straight students every day and that they're FRIENDS? Somehow, they see one prom night as unacceptable? How stupid. I find my students to be so accepting and tolerant of differences – and we have quite a diverse school population. I'll bet that the students at her high school don't give a flip that she's gay. Are administrators aware that it's not contagious? I hope the ACLU wins this one, it's absolutely absurd.

    March 13, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
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