Today brings good news for Constance McMillen, the 18-year-old Mississippi lesbian whose high school cancelled prom after she asked to bring her girlfriend.
The school has agreed to implement a policy banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and it will pay $35,000 in damages to McMillen, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
An excerpt from the ACLU press release:
"I’m so glad this is all over. I won’t ever get my prom back, but it’s
worth it if it changes things at my school,” said McMillen, who was
harassed so badly by students blaming her for the prom cancellation
that she had to transfer to another high school to finish her senior
year. “I hope this means that in the future students at my school will
be treated fairly. I know there are students and teachers who want to
start a gay-straight alliance club, and they should be able to do that
without being treated like I was by the school.”
In addition to today’s legal judgment against the school, an earlier
ruling in the case set an important precedent that will help prevent
other students from suffering the kind of discrimination McMillen
experienced. In March, the US District Court for the Northern
District of Mississippi issued a ruling in McMillen’s case that school
officials violated McMillen’s First Amendment rights when it cancelled
the high school prom rather than let McMillen attend with her
girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.
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