By James Tillman and Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, DC, June 22, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Earlier this year Constance McMillen was refused permission to attend her high-school prom with a female date while wearing a tuxedo, an event that catapulted her into the national media spotlight. Now her newfound notoriety has received an added boost, after the White House invited her to a reception honoring lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT) scheduled for Tuesday at 5pm.
Both President Obama and Vice-President Biden were expected to attend the reception. Openly gay Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh also planned to attend.
"I really hope the attention my case has generated will help encourage Congress to pass a federal law barring LGBT discrimination in schools so that no one else has to go through what I did," said McMillen.
McMillen said she was grateful that "President Obama recognizes the difficulties that LGBT youth still have."
But Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis for the American Family Association, disputes the contention that McMillen’s rights of free speech were violated.
“She was just unhappy that the school would not normalize her sexuality. And they were absolutely right to do so,” he told LifeSiteNews.com.
McMillen's Mississippi high school cancelled the school-sponsored prom, citing the disruption caused by McMillen's attempts to attend it dressed as a boy with her girlfriend.
Besides offending the moral sensibilities of many families in the Bible-belt with children attending the school, school officials had concerns that the wearing of a tuxedo by a girl would contravene the school’s strict dress code, which states, “Clothing and general appearance are not to be the type that would cause a disturbance.” The school’s dress code is generally “conservative,” also forbidding skirts above the knee, muscle shirts and exposure of undergarments.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) intervened and filed a lawsuit against Itawamba Agricultural High School, which then canceled the prom. School officials said that McMillen would be permitted to attend a parent-sponsored prom with her girlfriend.
However the ACLU contends that on prom night McMillen went to a "decoy" prom that only a few other students attended, while the rest of her classmates attended another event.
The ACLU maintains that the school district violated McMillen's free-speech "right" to cross-dress and has caused McMillen to be repeatedly humiliated and harassed.
Fischer, however, said that McMillen has hardly ended up the victim in the whole exchange. Besides getting honored at the White House celebration, McMillen has appeared multiple times on national television, received a $30,000 dollar college scholarship from openly lesbian TV host Ellen Degeneres, and is going to be the Grand Marshall of the New York City Pride parade on June 27.
Just several days before the Pride parade a benefit concert, "All Love, All Woodstock," is being held on June 25, the proceeds of which will go to McMillen's college education fund and to the ACLU.
Fischer expressed concern that the White House’s honoring of McMillen is “going to ratchet up the pressure on every school to capitulate.”
“We’re going to see the normalization of homosexuality, one senior prom at a time, unless we have school superintendents and school boards that will have enough spine to stand up against that pressure and refuse to capitulate.”
Public schools may soon face federal coercion to accommodate homosexual values. McMillen was scheduled to meet with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who hopes to pass the Student Nondiscrimination Act, prohibiting discrimination in schools on the basis of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."
The ACLU has supported this legislation on the grounds that discrimination in schools is "an unacceptable daily reality."