Lesbian Loses Bid to Hold Banned Prom

But judge rules school violated her free speech rights
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2010 1:48 AM CDT
Updated Mar 24, 2010 6:00 AM CDT
Lesbian Loses Bid to Hold Banned Prom
Constance McMillen gestures as she leaves the federal courthouse in Aberdeen, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(Newser) – A high school lesbian who went to court after her school canceled prom rather than let her attend has lost a bid to force the school to reinstate the dance. A judge ruled that Constance McMillen's First Amendment rights were violated, but that she failed to prove that ordering the Mississippi school to hold the dance served a compelling community interest. US District Judge Glen Davidson also ruled that barring McMillen from wearing a tuxedo to the prom violated her rights, reports CNN.

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She "intended to express her identity" with the tux and her date, which fell "squarely" within her constitutional rights, he wrote. Yet, he explained that requiring officials to reinstate the dance now "would only confuse and confound the community." Another dance organized by parents and welcoming all students will be held instead. Both sides claimed victory. "It sets a precedent for gay and lesbian students that they have the right to bring a same-sex date to the prom and wear gender-nonconforming clothes," said McMillen's ACLU attorney.
(Read more high school prom stories.)

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