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15 April 2010, 02:31:AM


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Author Topic: Lesbian teen wins prom battle in court  (Read 208 times)
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kittenpower
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« on: 25 March 2010, 07:24:PM »

A Mississippi federal court has ruled school officials violated a lesbian student's First Amendment rights when it cancelled the high school prom rather than let her attend with her girlfriend.

The US Court for the Northern District of Mississippi stopped short of ordering Itawamba Agricultural High School to put the school prom back on the calendar because of assurances that an alternative "private" prom being planned by parents would be open to all students.

The American Civil Liberties Union had requested a preliminary injunction stopping the Itawamba County School District from cancelling the prom and from prohibiting Constance McMillen from bringing her girlfriend as a date and wearing a tuxedo to the event.

"It feels really good that the court realized that the school was violating my rights and discriminating against me by cancelling 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," says McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi.

"Now we can all get back to things like picking out our prom night outfits and thinking about corsages."

In the 12-page ruling, the court wrote, "The record shows Constance has been openly gay since eighth grade and she intended to communicate a message by wearing a tuxedo and to express her identity through attending prom with a same-sex date. The Court finds this expression and communication of her viewpoint is the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment. The Court is also of the opinion that the motive behind the School Board's cancellation of the prom, or withdrawal of their sponsorship, was Constance's requests and the ACLU's demand letter sent on her behalf."

Further, the court says that since the school represented the private prom being organized by parents at a furniture store as open to all students, then the court expects that event will indeed invite McMillen and her girlfriend.

McMillen said that she plans to attend the "private" prom, but has also long planned to attend the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition's Second Chance Prom, to be held Saturday, May 8 in Tupelo.

The MSSC and the local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union say they deal every year with complaints from LGBT students all over Mississippi who face resistance from their schools about bringing same-sex dates to proms or who don't feel safe going to their own school proms.

Legal Director of the ACLU of Mississippi Kristy Bennett says the 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.

"Public schools can't just stomp on students' free expression rights just because they don't want to deal with these students, and if schools do try to do that they'll be dealing with us."

McMillen's case was thrust into the spotlight when Ellen Degeneres gave her a US$30,000 cheque towards a college scholarship on her talkshow, on behalf of digital media company Tonic.com.

Ellen told Constance, "I admire you so much. When I was your age I never would have had the strength to do what you are doing."

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BluntMuffin
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« Reply #1 on: 25 March 2010, 08:01:PM »

Good on her for going hard out..
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irishkiwi
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« Reply #2 on: 25 March 2010, 08:14:PM »

Disgraceful that in the 21st century this crap is still going on.
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Ozman
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« Reply #3 on: 25 March 2010, 08:15:PM »

Can't beelive the school didn't think it would come to this.

Utter shame on them for trying make out like she was the one who had done something wrong.
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John Locke
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« Reply #4 on: 25 March 2010, 09:42:PM »

Good for her.
LGBT students should be able to take their partners out on a date...
Americans pride themselvs on free rights and everything so lets prove it.
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TheDon
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« Reply #5 on: 25 March 2010, 10:09:PM »

Americans pride themselvs on free rights and everything so lets prove it.

History (and recent history) would suggest otherwise.
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layla
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« Reply #6 on: 26 March 2010, 02:08:PM »

An execellent decision.
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Starscream
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« Reply #7 on: 27 March 2010, 08:29:PM »

History (and recent history) would suggest otherwise.

Freedom in the US is only for heterosexual straight white Christian men. No one else.
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John Locke
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« Reply #8 on: 27 March 2010, 11:56:PM »

Freedom in the US is only for heterosexual straight white Christian men. No one else.

Lol theres a good family guy joke about that....
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deep388
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« Reply #9 on: 28 March 2010, 08:00:AM »

Freedom in the US is only for heterosexual straight white Christian men. No one else.

And the Truth shall set you free!!  BigGrin
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Ozman
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« Reply #10 on: 07 April 2010, 02:11:PM »

This makes me mad

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/3554271/Lesbian-teens-prom-night-falls-short

Quote
The 18-year-old lesbian student said Tuesday she was one of only seven students to show up at a private party chaperoned by school officials last Friday night. She said the rest of her peers went to another private event where she wasn't invited.


Elitist fuckers.
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The Divine Mistress Potplant
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« Reply #11 on: 07 April 2010, 04:08:PM »

This would be an excuse for a whole trainload of young queers to turn up in town and throw the girl a decent prom.
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« Reply #12 on: 07 April 2010, 05:02:PM »

Sad, but expected really. I know that i'd have been pissed with her if i'd been at that school and the prom got cancelled. (If I were straight).


It's a mixed thing for me. I applaud her for standing up for her sexuality, but at the same time she ended up making the rest of her school suffer for it. In the end she didn't even get to bring her girlfriend...
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Ozman
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« Reply #13 on: 07 April 2010, 05:14:PM »

Sad, but expected really. I know that i'd have been pissed with her if i'd been at that school and the prom got cancelled. (If I were straight).


It's a mixed thing for me. I applaud her for standing up for her sexuality, but at the same time she ended up making the rest of her school suffer for it. In the end she didn't even get to bring her girlfriend...

That's just it, SHE didn't make the school suffer, the schoolboard did.  She did nothing wrong.
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« Reply #14 on: 08 April 2010, 04:18:PM »

Yeah they suffered, but she made a point! And for the sake of a few hundred people who may have missed out on a prom, she's given hope to so many other gay/lesbian kids across the states that if they feel they want to be included in these events, then they have a right to.
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Well that's something a little fresh!
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