Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Judge: Lesbian student's rights violated


Judge: Lesbian student's rights violated
By Chris Joyner, USA TODAY
March 23, 2010
ABERDEEN, Miss. — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Itawamba County, Miss., school board violated the rights of a lesbian student by canceling the prom when the student challenged a ban on same-sex dates, but the judge stopped short of ordering the district to reinstate the April 2 prom.

U.S. District Court Judge Glen Davidson said he denied the injunction request because a private prom parents are planning will serve the same purpose as the school prom and because "requiring defendants to step back into a sponsorship role at this late date would only confuse and confound the community on the issue."

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Constance McMillen, 18, and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Itawamba County school district when she was denied her request to bring her girlfriend, a sophomore, to the dance and to wear a tuxedo.

McMillen said she was saddened that the judge did not reinstate the school-sponsored prom, but she understood his reasoning since the private prom is scheduled for the same day in Tupelo.

"It would be hard for him to move it," she said. "A lot of people would be inconvenienced."

Davidson ruled the school board violated McMillen's rights. "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," Davidson wrote in his opinion...

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