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Constance McMillen Wanted to Take Her Girlfriend to the Prom, So the School Board Canceled it

Constance McMillen (Personal Photo)
Jackson, Miss. (CBS/AP) When Constance McMillen fought the law, the law canceled the fight.

With the backing of the ACLU, McMillen fought an Itawamba County school board to be able to take her lesbian partner and wear a tuxedo to the Itawamba County Agricultural High School prom, in the small town of Itawamba, Miss. about 20 miles east of Tupelo.

The school board responded Wednesday by announcing they were canceling the entire prom, scheduled for April 2.

Memo Given to Students (Credit: WIAT)
A Feb. 5 memo to students laid out the criteria for bringing a date to the prom, and one requirement was that the person must be of the opposite sex. The ACLU told board members the restriction violated the students' rights and not allowing McMillen to wear a tux violated her expression rights.

McMillen almost didn't return to school Thursday for fear of retribution by her classmates who had just lost their prom because of her.

"My daddy told me that I needed to show them that I'm still proud of who I am," McMillen said. "The fact that this will help people later on, that's what's helping me to go on."

Same-sex prom dates and cross-dressing are new issues for many high schools around the country, said Daryl Presgraves, a spokesman for GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a Washington-based advocacy group.

He said those kind of policies are detrimental to gay students. "It sends a message that these students shouldn't be treated the same," Presgraves said.

McMillen said she did feel some hostility toward her on campus, explaining, "Somebody said, 'Thanks for ruining my senior year."'

  • Carlin Miller

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