Mississippi Judge: School Violated Constance's Rights

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson ruled on Tuesday that a Mississippi school district violated a lesbian student’s rights when school officials cancelled a high school prom because the student asked to bring her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo, according to The Associated Press. "The court finds this expression and communication falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment," Davidson said. The court did not, however, grant the plaintiff’s request that the prom be reinstated. Constance McMillen, 18, asked administrators at Itawamba Agricultural High School in December if she could bring her girlfriend, also a student at the school, to prom but was denied that request. McMillen was also told that she would not be admitted to the dance if she chose to wear a tuxedo. McMillen then contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) about her case and filed a lawsuit against the district last week. According to USA Today, Judge Davidson said he will hold a trial on the issue later, but did not set a date. McMillen has asked the judge to declare the board's actions unconstitutional and award her $1 in damages plus court costs. ACLU Mississippi legal director Kristy Bennett told USA Today that Tuesday's ruling is a victory.
"This ruling clearly tells school districts there is a First Amendment right to bring same-sex dates to the prom," Bennett said.
As for McMillen, she told CBS’ The Early Show this morning that she’s happy with the outcome:
"I think that the judge made a good decision. I'm glad that he did realize that the school did violate my rights."
GLAAD is encouraged by the U.S. District Court's ruling and applauds the national media's steadfast attention to this case. GLAAD also congratulates the ACLU and the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition for working tirelessly on Constance’s behalf. Her battle for equality has resonated with LGBT people and allies across the country and her unwavering courage inspires us all.