A Mississippi county school board announced Wednesday it would cancel its upcoming prom after a gay student petitioned to bring a same-sex date to the event.The school district is clearly staffed by a bunch of useless bigots who whiff of a pungent bouquet of fear, desperation, and ideological extinction, as pitiable for their small-mindedness as they are contemptible for their cruelty.
"Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events, the Itawamba County School District has decided to not host a prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School this year," school board members said in a statement.
Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba, recently challenged a school policy prohibiting her from bringing her girlfriend as her date to the April 2 prom. McMillen, who is a lesbian, and the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged school officials to reverse the policy both on McMillen's choice of date and attire. She also wanted to wear a tuxedo to the dance.
ACLU attorney Christine Sun said her organization receives requests for help every year from students facing anti-gay prom policies. The complaints are especially prevalent in the South where attitudes toward sexuality are more conservative, she said.
In the announcement, the school board encouraged the community to organize a private prom. "It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors. "We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes anyone," the statement concluded. School officials did not respond to calls seeking comment.
The announcement alarmed McMillen.
"Oh, my God. That's really messed up because the message they are sending is that if they have to let gay people go to prom that they are not going to have one," she said. "A bunch of kids at school are really going to hate me for this."
...The ban on same-sex dates is a violation of McMillen's constitutional rights, said Sun, the ACLU's senior attorney on gay rights. "We believe the law is pretty clear," Sun said. "The school just can't arbitrarily say you have to bring an opposite date to the prom."
A private prom would allow the district to get around the issue, McMillen said. "If they set it up privately they probably aren't going to allow gay people to go and there is nothing that you can do about it," she said.
McMillen, on the other hand, is enormously courageous and wields on hell of an impressive teaspoon. She's probably right that a bunch of kids will hate her for this (although I hope we're both wrong and she ends up getting lots of surprising support!), but she'll soon find out that there are places in this world where she will be loved and admired and embraced for being exactly who she is.