The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) is claiming victory after a federal judge agreed a Fulton,
Mississippi school violated the rights of a lesbian student when it
refused to allow her to attend the prom with her girlfriend.
But US District Judge Glen H. Davidson
said he would not force the school to hold the event, the AP
With the assistance of the ACLU,
18-year-old Constance McMillen sued the Itawamba County School
District after it decided to cancel the Itawamba Agricultural High
School (IAHS) prom dance for junior and senior students rather than
allow McMillen to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.
Davidson denied the ACLU's request for
a preliminary injunction that would have forced the school to hold
the April 2 dance, opting instead to hold a trial at a later date.
“We consider this a victory,”
Kristy Bennet, legal director of ACLU Mississippi, told the news
McMillen contacted the ACLU after
school officials told her she could not attend the dance with her
girlfriend, also a student at IAHS, and that if they arrived
separately but slow-danced together they might be kicked out.
A February 5 memo addressed to junior
and senior students stated a prom date “must be of the opposite
School officials said they canceled the
event because McMillen's challenge had caused disruptions.
Since launching the lawsuit, McMillen
has appeared on various television programs, including The Ellen
DeGeneres Show where its host Ellen DeGeneres presented her with
a $30,000 college scholarship.