By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com March 11 2010 7:10 PM ET
The American Civil Liberties Union will sue a Mississippi high school after it canceled its prom this year rather than let a lesbian student bring her girlfriend as a date.
The suit in the U.S. district court for northern Mississippi calls for Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton to reinstate the prom on April 2.
“All I wanted was the same chance to enjoy my prom night like any other student," Constance McMillen, the 18-year-old senior, said in a statement on Thursday. "But my school would rather hurt all the students than treat everyone fairly. This isn’t just about me and my rights anymore — now I’m fighting for the right of all the students at my school to have our prom.”
McMillen was told that she could not attend the prom with her girlfriend, who is also a student at the school. Then on Wednesday, the school district announced that it was canceling its prom after receiving a letter from the ACLU and the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition.
“Itawamba school officials are trying to turn Constance into the villain who called the whole thing off, and that just isn’t what happened,” said Kristy Bennett, legal director for the ACLU of Mississippi. “She’s fighting for everyone to be able to enjoy the prom. The government, and that includes public schools, can’t censor someone’s free expression just because some other person might not like it.”