Judge won't reinstate Miss. prom

March 23, 2010 at 5:51 PM
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FULTON, Miss., March 23 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge says he won't force a Mississippi school to hold a prom even though the school district discriminated against a lesbian student.

U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson said the Itawamba County school board violated the rights of a lesbian student by canceling the prom when the student challenged a ban on same-sex dates, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported.

Constance McMillen, 18, had asked to bring her girlfriend and wanted to wear a tuxedo to the dance. But on March 10, the school board canceled the prom, reacting to demands from the American Civil Liberties Union.

In court Monday, school attorneys said the board only was attempting to restore order to the school by withdrawing sponsorship of the prom, the Clarion-Ledger said.

But the judge said of McMIllen: "The court finds this expression and communication of her viewpoint is the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment," in an opinion. Davidson also wrote that it would not be in the public interest if he required the school to host a prom.

Parents of students at the Fulton, Miss., high school are organizing a private prom, the newspaper said, and school officials said all junior and senior students would be allowed to attend. A separate prom is being organized by an advocacy group for gay and lesbian students.

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