Gay Teen Denied Prom Gets $30K Scholarship

Ellen DeGeneres calls Constance McMillen a leader for gay rights
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2010 3:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ellen DeGeneres honored the Mississippi teen who stood up for her right to take a same-sex partner to the prom on her show today, presenting her with a $30,000 college scholarship check. DeGeneres hailed Constance McMillen as part of a new generation of leaders in gay rights. The school district canceled the prom rather than let McMillen attend. "I admire you so much," DeGeneres told the 18-year-old. "When I was your age I never would have had the strength to do what you are doing."

DeGeneres has offered to pay for a private prom, but McMillen wants the school to put it on. With the ACLU's help, she sued the school district in federal court to have the event reinstated, the Clarion-Ledger reports. Another high-profile supporter is Cat Cora of the Food Network's Iron Chef America, who says she's "outraged" at the treatment of McMillen. "I was that girl from Mississippi one time," Cora tells WAPT, the ABC affiliate in Jackson. "I hate seeing things that reinforce negative attitudes about Mississippi like this." (Read more Constance McMillen stories.)

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