A federal court ruled today that Itawamba Agricultural High School violated Constance McMillen’s civil rights when they would not allow her to wear a tuxedo or bring her girlfriend as a her date to the prom. The ACLU took up Constance’s case and Ellen Degeneres had the teen as a guest on her show. There is also a Facebook page Let Constance Take her Girlfriend to the Prom
In their 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.”
The court id not order the school board to reinstate the canceled prom, as there is a private prom open to all students that has been organized in Itawamba. Constance and her girlfriend also plan to attend the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition’s Second Chance Prom, to be held Saturday, May 8 in Tupelo. That event, sponsored by Green Day, Tonic.com, Iron Chef Cat Cora, and Lance Bass, is an annual response to the complaints of LGBT teens that they can’t bring their same-sex dates to school proms.
Constance said happily:
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. Now we can all get back to things like picking out our prom night outfits and thinking about corsages.