Lesbian Student’s Rights Violated, Judge Rules

By Brennan McCord

Mar 24, 2010 12:22pm

ABC News' Brennan McCord reports: The Itawamba County school board in Mississippi has violated the rights of a lesbian student by  canceling the prom when she challenged the board’s ban on same-sex dates, a federal judge ruled  Tuesday. 

However, U.S. District Court Judge Glen Davidson denied the 18-year-old student’s motion to reinstate the April 2 prom.

Davidson ruled that the school board violated McMillen’s first amendment right to express herself by taking another girl to the Itawamba County Agricultural High School prom.

“Today’s ruling isn’t just a win for Constance and her girlfriend – it’s a win for all the students at her school, and for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students who just want to be able to be themselves at school without being treated unfairly,” said Kristy Bennett, Legal Director of the ACLU of Mississippi.

Davidson said he denied the motion to reinstate the prom because a private prom is already being planned and "requiring defendants to step back into a sponsorship role at this late date would only confuse and confound the community on the issue."

While McMillen said she is disappointed that the judge did not reinstate the school prom, she agreed that it would have created a conflict with the private prom, which also is scheduled for April 2. 
"It would be hard for him to move it.  A lot of people would be inconvenienced," said McMillen.   She continued, “It feels really good that the court realized that the school was violating my rights and discriminating against me by canceling the prom. All I ever wanted was for my school to treat me and my girlfriend like any other couple that wants to go to prom.”

Parents who have organized the private prom  say all students are welcome to attend.  An advocacy group for gay and lesbian students is organizing a  separate prom as well.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus