2 min

The date of his choice

Court to hear gay student's prom appeal

Marc Hall may still make it to his prom with his boyfriend.

The 17-year-old Oshawa student, who has made national headlines because of his Catholic school’s refusal to allow him to bring his boyfriend as his date, will have his day in court.

The Ontario Superior Court Of Justice ruled on Fri, Apr 19 that it will hear arguments for an injunction requiring the Durham Catholic District School Board to allow Hall and boyfriend JP Dumond to attend the May 10 prom. Hall’s lawyer, David Corbett, is also asking to court to prohibit the board from cancelling the prom if Hall and Dumond are allowed to attend.

Arguments will begin on the injunction on Mon, May 6 in Whitby. Hall has also filed suit against the board and is seeking $100,000 in damages. No date has been set for that trial to begin.

According to Jane Walsh of Justice For Children And Youth, her organization and the Coalition To Support Marc Hall have also been granted intervenor status in the hearings, allowing lawyers representing those groups to participate in the hearings.

Walsh also says that the Canadian Auto Workers, who have lent financial and organizational support to Hall’s fight, will pay to bus Hall supporters from Toronto to Whitby for the start of the hearings on May 6. A bus will leave at 8am from the front of the 519 Community Centre (519 Church St). Those interested can contact Marilyn Byers of Parents And Friends Of Lesbians And Gays, York Region at (416) 225-2232.

Walsh says that, win or lose, there will be a rally on Sat, May 11, beginning at 2pm at Cawthra Square Park behind the 519 Community Centre, entitled Prom Or Protest.

“This has been so important to the community that we wanted to do something,” says Walsh. “We’ll either be having a big prom celebration or a protest. We decided not to require formal prom clothes.”

In Ottawa, meanwhile, those gays and lesbians who couldn’t attend their own proms with the date of their choice are being given a second chance.

Ottawa’s Act Out Theatre and the Arts Court are putting on a two-day prom night Fri, May 24 and May 25 as a fundraiser for both organizations. The night will include the traditional dancing and an official photgrapher. There will also be a Prom King/King and Prom Queen/Queen couples selected.

Tickets are $30, for more information, call (613) 237-7133 ext 32.

But a recent incident in London, Ontario is a sobering reminder that for gay and lesbian students, proms and dances can still be dangerous.

Three London teens were arrested and charged with assault after bullying a gay teen at a school dance. The gay youth and two of the teens attended South Secondary School. The third attacker was a former student.

Witnesses told the London Free Press that the three teens threatened the gay youth after a school dance on Fri, Apr 12. The three also punched him several times.

“He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there saying, ‘Leave me alone,'” a student told the Free Press. “But they kept going. They were like, ‘We’ll kill you.'”

The principal of the school suspended the two students attending the school for 10 days.

“Our policy is zero tolerance for any of those type of things,” David Brent told the Free Press. “This school is very tolerant, we have a great community here. Discrimination is not an issue most of the time.”