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. Peregrine

    Why are so many bashing the state of Mississippi? Have they ever visited the state to see for themselves? Well, I have been there and it is a beautiful place with an excellent educational system. My husband is career military and we have passed thru the state many times. We are from far northern states and are seriously considering retiring in Miss when the time comes. This young person probably decided to say she is a lesbian and caused all this prom cancellation furor in order to be noticed. Let the school system take care of this without interference from anyone not involved.

    March 13, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A K

    I see so many people saying she ruined prom for everyone else. How? While I wonder about the validity of many of the high school girls' "sexual orientation" bedause of how suddenly cool it became, this girl wanted to bring another girl and has that right legally. But, if the backwoods school wanted to punish her, why did the school have to be punished as well? So she is already an outcast, let's make her more of an enemy because of who she wants to bring to a dance? If she truly is a lesbian, shame on anyone for passing judgment and thinking it is wrong to bring a date. I personally would not give a hoot if she brought a date. And if it were for attention, then simply DON'T give it to her. This isn't rocket science. I hope this girl has classmates rally on her right to choose a date and doesn't chastice her like the school board.

    March 13, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. V.Clausewitz

    Can I bring my sheep?

    March 13, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Artemis Entreri

    I believe there is more to this story than this entire episode is letting up. Would be interesting to know about this girl's history with the school. I'm sure she didnt turn up one day and just declare she had specific sexual preferences.

    March 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lew

    You Americans get so bent out of shape over sex!

    March 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Manwithoutastar

    A prom is not a right, it is a privilege. Homosexuals need to stop shoving their beliefs down other’s throats. Some people just do not want to accept homosexuals or the lifestyle. Accept that and move on.

    March 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    Brown, if she is waving her sexuality in everyone's face, then ALL the kids at the prom are also waving their sexuality in everyones face when they want to being their dates. She simply wants to attend prom with the person she likes ..just like all the other kids. The school is trying to punish her by cancelling the prom. That is just bad form. Hate to tell you ..Homosexuality has been proven to be consistent throughout different societies and isn't abnormal. It is normal and isn't going away.

    March 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bruce from Seattle

    Its sad to think I am not surprised at the irrational comments on this subject. Those of you who talk about "sexual should be a private issue", seem to apply it only to GLBT community. How stupid can you be? Do you ever wake up in the morning and ask youself if you really believe the crap that comes off your lips?

    Look back in history and these same comments are applied to any group that doesn't fit the white christian dumb teachings. If you believe there is a god, and I dont', and you believe this is where the judgement is supposed to take place....then why would "god" waste time in making you the jury, judge and executioner?? Don't you think God is smarter than that? Sorry, some peoples logic just baffles hurts my brain.

    March 13, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JustinB

    Ok.. This is what I am thinking. This is supposed to be AMERICA The home of the free right?
    What the hell is wrong with some of you people? How would you like it if you were told you could not take a date to a prom cause of what ever reason? I know I would of been extremely ticked. Sad but this is the way it is in the south I am from Indiana and moved back to the south to be with my fiance in Alabama. You know the whole law about separation of church and state? Well that simply is NOT true here Church's and its members control everything and have a say in everything that goes on here. I have seen it happen a number of times. I believe it is not right. Race is also still a major issue here but it is not all white against what ever it goes both ways here. It is shocking that in this day and age that this is allowed to continue in today's world. It should not matter if a person is white black or gay or straight The school deserves what ever is coming to them so does the rest of the south.

    March 13, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carl

    I suspect that 50 years ago if she'd wanted to be accompanied by a male but black partmer, we'd have seen the same ridiculous objections and complaints that she was ruining it for everyone.

    March 13, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      In Mississippi, if she'd wanted to be accompanied by a male Black date, that probably would have been just as big (if not bigger) of a problem. I'm in a mixed race marriage, and had to go to Jackson TN to speak. We were insulted, stared at and refused service at a restaurant. If I NEVER have to go to the South again, I'll be happy. What a bunch of redneck morons!

      June 30, 2010 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. DM

    I never knew they had a RIGHT to have a prom? Interesting. Perhaps the schools should PAY for prom night since it is every students RIGHTS! Hey maybe get some of that tarp money that has not been spent yet. Oh that's right it is going to be spent right before the 2010 elections for such things as political consultants, corrupt acorn campaigns, etc....

    This just shows that schools need to get back to Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic and leave all the other BS out. One might

    The only thing Arithmetic could insult anyone is that a Mathematician can not win it. But, then again all you have to do and write a couple of vulgar books about yourself and start making empty speeches about peace, change, and one world and you get a noble peace prize over those who are actually in jail suffering due to their plights to promote freedom and peace.

    March 14, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Roy, Texas

    Oh my gosh, the South is so far behind!

    March 14, 2010 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cystalblue

    I don't think it is right for the school to cancel the prom as the majority of students have been affected by the decision. The administration perhaps should have tried speaking with the girl and parents (maybe they did, I don't know) regarding the sensitivity of the situation. It is a school and standard accepted morals have to be upheld. If the girl has a relationship outside the acceptable normal social norm, then that should be kept out of school. Two sexes were created for each other, if that wasn't so then the whole Earth would have only been one sex. ( just trying to make my point here). The girl should accept this even if she has to go alone to the prom. The school I sincerely believe has to uphold its moral principles here. That's my opinion.

    March 14, 2010 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. sherm

    so.... how did the school know beforehand this girl was going to attend wearing a tux? Clearly she's drawing a iine in the sand. She could have just shown up or not go. What exactly prompted her to do this type of auction, that being announcing her intention to the school's administration she's going as her girl-friends date, and dressing in a tux, so there's no misunderstanding. I'd like to know, why she choose to take this course of action.

    March 14, 2010 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Simon

    Constance's fight must be giving hope and inspiration to many teenagers who are in fear or despair over non acceptance of their sexual orientation, and are perhaps considering suicide.

    March 14, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
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