Tuesday July 20, 2010

School District Pays $35K to Teen over Same-Sex Prom Date Ban

By Kathleen Gilbert

JACKSON, Mississippi, July 20, 2010 ( – A school district has agreed to pay over $35,000 to a teenager whose insistence on bringing a same-sex partner to her high school prom prompted the district to cancel the event. The district also agreed to follow a “non-discrimination” policy regarding teens who call themselves homosexual, a move the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called precedent-setting.

Constance McMillen has won acclaim from the homosexualist movement after suing the Itawamba County School District over the affair. The school had warned McMillen not to follow through with plans to dress in a tuxedo and bring a female partner to the dance; when McMillen insisted, the school cancelled the whole affair.

School officials cited the school’s dress code, which states that “Clothing and general appearance are not to be the type that would cause a disturbance.”

In addition to paying $35,000 in damages and McMillen’s court fees, the school agreed to let the court enter a judgment against them. School officials also agreed to implement a policy banning discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – the first public school policy of its kind in Mississippi, according to the ACLU.

In March, a federal court judge had denied McMillen’s request to force the district to re-sponsor the prom; however, the court also ruled that school officials violated McMillen’s First Amendment rights by cancelling the event.

“I think it’s great that there’s that many people out there that understand the difference between wrong and right,” said McMillen in a video statement published by the ACLU. In a written statement, McMillen said, “I won’t ever get my prom back, but it’s worth it if it changes things at my school.”

The $35,000 will bolster another $30,000 McMillen received as a scholarship from, in addition to countless thousands from other fundraisers conducted in her honor, such as the “All Love, All Woodstock” benefit concert last month.

McMillen has ridden to the top of a huge wave of popularity in the homosexualist world: she presented an award at the 21st annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles in April, was invited to a White House reception of homosexual leaders attended by President Obama in June, and the same month was marshal of New York City’s Pride March. A “Let Constance Take her Girlfriend to the Prom” fan page on Facebook has topped 400,000 fans.