This morning, CBS’s The Early Show interviewed Constance McMillen about her school’s decision to cancel prom in order to prevent her from bringing her girlfriend as a date. McMillen explained that the school first justified it’s policy against allowing same sex couples to attend the prom by claiming that it was trying to prevent pairs of students from purchasing the cheaper date tickets and gaming the system. “I explained to him that you can’t pretend like there’s not gay people at our school and if you tell people they can’t bring a same sex date, that is discrimination,” McMillen said.
McMillen expressed disappointment over the school’s decision, but said that she did not regret her request. “I was raised…to always be yourself and be proud of who you are,” McMillen said, noting that “now it’s kind of like I’m fighting for prom for everybody now.” ” And it’s like [the school is] asking you, like for prom, you can be gay, just don’t be openly gay. Just you know, hide it for a little while”:
MCMILLEN: I just want other kids to know that it’s not right for schools to do that and I want them to be able to know that they can get a hold of the ACLU or the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition works with ACLU and they help people through stuff like this. Because schools, they shouldn’t be able to do that.
The ACLU is now suing the high school, calling upon it to reinstate its prom for April 2. “We’re fighting tooth and nail for that to happen. We filed a lawsuit yesterday. We’re working on an emergency motion to go before the court to get the prom reinstated so that Constance can bring her girlfriend to the prom, to wear a tuxedo, and everyone can be themselves,” McMillen’s attorney Christine Sun said.
As Zaid Jilani points out however, if the school refuses to reinstate its prom, the students have another option. “After hearing about the students’ predicament, a New Orleans hotel owner has offered to pay for the students to come to New Orleans and use one of his hotel facilities for their prom.”