FULTON, Miss. – Constance McMillen and her girlfriend made it to the “prom” over the weekend.
Only seven other students showed up at the dance Friday night at Fulton Country Club, according to several reports.
This morning, word is leaking out that most of Constance’s classmates at Itawamba Agricultural High School (IAHS) attended a “secret” prom to which she and her girlfriend were not invited.
This morning, SDGLN contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) headquarters in New York trying to verify Internet gossip that the country club “prom” was nothing more than a ruse to keep Constance and her girlfriend from the “real prom.”
“We don’t know for sure whether it was a ruse. But I can tell you for sure that the event that the school had said was the prom for all juniors and seniors at IAHS was very sparsely attended and there was only a handful of other IAHS students there while Constance was there. Beyond that we’re still trying to find out more about what the whole story is,” said Chris Hampton, public education associate for the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and AIDS Project.
On the Facebook page “Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom!” was this notice this morning:
“On Friday night, Constance and her date went to the prom the school had said would be held for all IAHS juniors and seniors, only to find an event that was very sparsely attended, as detailed in this blogger's account. Constance tried to make the best of it and had a nice evening with the other students from her school who attended, but is of course disappointed that so few of her classmates were there.”
The back story
Constance asked the IAHS school board for permission to bring her girlfriend to the school prom, and was denied. She and the ACLU sued.
U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson ruled that Constance’s constitutional rights were violated in the case – a decision that potentially could favorably impact LGBT students nationwide. However, Davidson denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to force the school to hold the prom, largely because parents had organized a private dance instead and district officials had testified that Constance and her girlfriend were invited to that event.
Parents then organized a private prom, but canceled it early last week when it became known that Constance and her girlfriend were not invited to that one.
Yet another group of parents then hastily organized the country club prom and invited Constance and her girlfriend to attend.
Meanwhile, the lesbian teens are invited to an all-inclusive dance planned in Mississippi.
San Diego-based Empowering Spirits Foundation and the Safe Schools Coalition of Mississippi are sponsoring the May 8 prom in Fulton, Miss., that will be open to all students regardless of sexual orientation.