A Mississippi school district cancelled a local high school’s prom on Wednesday after an openly lesbian student asked to bring her girlfriend as a date, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.
In a statement released by the Itawamba County school district, school board members state that “Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events, the Itawamba County School District has decided to not host a prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School this year.”
The student, Constance McMillen, 18, told Jackson, Miss. newspaper The Clarion Ledger that the cancellation is retaliation for her request to bring her girlfriend to the event.
"I feel like I should be able to go and be myself and not have to worry about what clothes I'm wearing or who I am bringing or who I'm dancing with," McMillen said.
USA Today reports today that “school officials told McMillen last month that she could not bring her sophomore girlfriend to the prom and also told her she could not wear a tuxedo. The school then circulated a memo that prohibited same-sex dates.”
McMillen then contacted the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union about the ordeal.
ACLU attorney Christine Sun told USA Today that the ban on same-sex dates is a violation of McMillen’s constitutional rights. “We believe the law is pretty clear,” Sun said. “The school just can’t arbitrarily say you have to bring an opposite date to the prom.”
In hopes of circumventing the law, however, Itawamba County school district officials are urging citizens to organize a “private event” for the high school’s juniors and seniors. A private affair would not require LGBT inclusivity.
GLAAD will continue to follow developments in this story.