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Constance McMillen Update: Miss. School District Must Pay $81,000 in Legal Fees

Constance McMillen (Personal Photo)
Constance McMillen Update: Miss. School District Must Pay $81,000 in Legal Fees
Constance McMillen (Personal Photo)

JACKSON, Miss. (CBS/AP) It would have been cheaper to just let her take her girlfriend to the prom.

The Mississippi school district that canceled its senior prom rather than allow lesbian student Constance McMillen to bring her girlfriend will now have to pay her $81,000 for legal fees incurred when McMillen sued the Itawamba School District for violating her civil rights by canceling the prom.

A memo to students laid out the criteria for bringing a date to the prom, including the requirement that the person be of the opposite sex. McMillen responded by requesting in writing that her school, Itawamba County Agricultural High School, make an exception and allow her to bring her girlfriend. That was denied as was her request to wear a tuxedo to the prom.

The school cancelled the prom, scheduled for April 2.

With the backing of the ACLU, McMillen fought the school board to reinstate the prom. McMillen eventually won - sort of. A judge ruled in March that her rights were violated by the school's restrictions but also said that the school board couldn't at that point be forced to hold a school-sanctioned prom.

Parents at the school sponsored another dance, but McMillen claimed she was tricked into going to a "sham prom" while other students partied elsewhere.

McMillen finished her senior year at a different high school.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF CONSTANCE MCMILLEN ON CRIMESIDER