Miss. School Cancels Prom to Ban Lesbian Constance McMillen
The Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi has canceled its April prom rather than allow Constance McMillen, a lesbian, to attend the event with her girlfriend.
ACLU Defends Constance McMillan's Constitutional Rights
The Clarion-Ledger states that 18-year-old senior Constance McMillen thinks the school is being punitive and she has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to press her case after school officials informed her that she was forbidden from wearing a tuxedo to the April 2 prom, and from bringing her girlfriend as a date.
A reporter from the paper says that the school, rather than rescinding the statement issued to Ms. McMillen, has decided to cancel its prom and is instead looking for a private hosting of the event.
Conservative Liberty Counsel Offers to Host Prom
The ACLU contends the ban on same-sex dates is a violation of McMillen's constitutional rights. The Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group, has offered its services free to the school district.
An attorney for Liberty Counsel, a private conservative group, which is offering to host the event, Stephen Crampton said attempts to override school policy is part of a larger gay agenda to force equality of same-sex couples. The paper said Crampton reminded the reporter that the state of Mississippi still has anti-sodomy laws on its books.
Clash Between LGBT & Conservatives in State Schools
The issue is part of a broader culture war involving increasing expansion of LGBT rights on the one hand, and a growing backlash coming from cultural conservatives and Christian groups such as AFTAH (Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality) on the other. Peter LaBarbera who is founder and director of AFTAH, is one of the most outspoken proponents of "fighting the gay agenda in public schools."
The Fulton, Miss. school story breaks as the outcry against anti-gay discrimination in public colleges and universities in Virginia has made the state's Governor retract a directive he had issued last week, asking that sexual orientation and gender identity no longer be protected under official state clauses.
McMillen and the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi gave the district until Wednesday to drop its objections to same-sex dates,” reported The Clarion-Ledger. “The school board responded with a statement canceling the prom and suggesting a private group host an independent prom instead. The ACLU contends the ban on same-sex dates is a violation of McMillen's constitutional rights. The Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group, has offered its services free to the school district.
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