ACLU to Utah Schools: Ban on Same-Sex Couples Unconstitutional
BY Advocate Contributors
November 09 2011 3:52 PM ET
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent out a letter to Utah school superintendents today, reminding them that banning or disallowing same-sex couples from attending school functions is unconstitutional. The letter was prompted after the ACLU received a report of a high school female student being asked to leave her school's homecoming dance because she took a female date, according to FOX 13 News. Representatives from Equality Utah say the incident occurred last month in Sevier County and that the student felt so humiliated, she was compelled to act.
In the letter, the ACLU reminds superintendents that it is unconstitutional to prevent same-sex couples from attending school dances. Citing two previous federal court case decisions regarding the constitutionality of a public school's right to ban same-sex couples at functions, Fricke v. Lynch in 1980 and McMillen v. Itawamba County School District 2010, ACLU officials say attending school dances is a "right of all students, regardless of sexual orientation, to attend school proms, dances and other functions."
The ACLU letter also encourages superintendents in Utah to contact principals in their districts and let them know that if they have any type of ban on same-sex couples attending school functions, to drop them immediately or face potential lawsuits. ACLU officials also stated they received immediate confirmation from one school district superintendent confirming his willingness to "personally instruct each of the principals in his district that LGBT students must not be excluded from school activities, like dances."
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