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Pious redneck school board cancels prom rather than allow lesbians to attend

THE American Humanist Association (AHA) has stepped forward with an offered to organise and fund a prom for the Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Mississippi.

The Itawamba County School District made headlines earlier this week by cancelling their prom rather than allowing a lesbian student, Constance McMillen, 18, to bring her girlfriend as her date.

Constance McMillan

Said Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the AHA.

It’s shameful that closed-minded members of the school board are prepared to deprive an entire class of students their prom over their outdated religious mores. People can hold to any belief or no belief in this nation, but the school board misuses their position when they try to impose their beliefs on the student population in Itawamba.

McMillen was barred from the prom after making it known that she intended to bring a same-sex date. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mississippi became involved and demanded the school reverse its policy. The school board responded by cancelling the prom.

Speckhardt added.

The ACLU is doing good work in Mississippi, and we humanists can also bring resources to the table that will defend students from a repressive school board. Prom is a special event for teens across America; we’ll make sure it’s a special night for these students as well.

AHA members Todd and Diana Stiefel made a $20,000 grant available to the AHA for the purpose of holding a prom in Itawamba County. The AHA will be discussing logistics with the relevant parties.

Humanists and freethinkers have a history of speaking up for the rights of all. The AHA was among the first to support civil rights, equal pay for equal work, and the right of same-sex couples to marry. Recently the AHA launched the LGBT Humanist Council to advance equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. (www.lgbthumanists.org).

Meanwhile, we learn from this report that McMillen has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order the dance to go ahead. She is also demanding the right to wear male evening dress instead of the traditional prom gown.

The row in America’s Deep South has spread across the rest of the country, with the schoolgirl taking her protests to nationally televised breakfast shows.

The move has infuriated education board chiefs at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. Miss McMillen admitted the row had not endeared her to some disgruntled classmates.

Somebody said: ‘Thanks for ruining my senior year’.

Local Baptist Church pastor Bobby Crenshaw said he’s seen America’s South being portrayed as ‘backwards’ over the school’s handling of the affair. But he added:

A lot more people here have biblically-based values.

Translation: A lot of people here are bigoted religious fuckwits.

In the only similar previous case, a gay student sued his school district in Toronto, Canada, to force it to allow him to attend a prom with his boyfriend in 2002.

A judge later forced the district to allow the couple to attend and stopped the school from cancelling the prom.

UPDATE: We have just learned that a New Orleans hotelier has offered to host the prom free of charge. Sean Cummings told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson he was so disappointed with the school board’s decision he offered to transport the students in buses to the city and host a free prom at one of his properties.

We’re a joyful culture and a creative culture here and, if the school doesn’t change its mind, we’d be delighted to offer them a prom in New Orleans. Concluding your high school experience should be a joyful one. One shouldn’t conclude that experience with all their friends on a negative note.

22 Responses to “Pious redneck school board cancels prom rather than allow lesbians to attend”

  1. Heather Flight says:

    That lesbian certainly has some spunk!

    She WILL get to go to the ball. Quite right too.

  2. Angela_K says:

    Well done Ms McMillan for standing up to the bigots. Unfortunately she has made herself a target; I hope she survives OK living among the brain-deads.

  3. Broga says:

    Note that single sentence from one of the fantasy bigots getting at the feisty Constance McMillan, “Thanks for ruining my senior year.”

    Whoever made that comment must be so isolated from reality. What about Angela and what she is enduring? What kind of courage does Angela have to possess? I hope she takes strength from the view that, “Whatever does not break me, makes me stronger.”

    There is a saccharine sweetness about these Southern Belles, spouting their biblical shite, and with about as much backbone as a worm. I hope Angela knows the kind of admiration she is arousing around the UK and, I hope, far beyond. Stick with it Angela, the world is changing fast, and it is changing in your direction.

  4. Broga says:

    Bobby Crenshaw – some kind of dumbfuck pastor – worried about the South being seen as “backwards.” Did he mean “backward”? Or the South seen “backwards”. Or didn’t he know what he meant? Same as his flock, I suppose, ignorant, cruel, bigotted and relying on the bible. Or at least the bits that suit them; ignoring contradictions; leaving their brains unused.

  5. JT says:

    I also feel that this quote was particularly awful:
    “I am a little bummed out about it. I guess it’s a decision that had to be made. Either way someone was going to get disappointed — either Constance was or we were,” Watson said. “I don’t agree with homosexuality, but I can’t change what another person thinks or does.”

    Really Watson? You (and presumably the entire student body you suppose you speak for with the pronoun “we”) were going to be disappointed if they had just let two girls go to prom together and dance? And to claim that your level of disappointment was in any way on par with having a young girl excluded from prom and reminded that she lives in an awful backwards christian society that loathes her existence with whom her struggle will likely never end?

  6. William Harwood says:

    If this is a Catholic (or other religion) school that receives no taxpayer funding, then its actions, while reprehensible, are strictly legal. But if it is part of the public school system, then its imposition of a “law respecting an establishment of religion” is a treasonous violation of the First Amendment. The AHA and ACLU should be demanding that the violators be prosecuted.

  7. Broga says:

    @JT I wonder the word “agree” means in “I don’t agree with homosexuality.” If she means I don’t agree with an a point of view for or against OK. But there is a slack, unedifying dismissal of homosexuality which says nothing but plays to that Southern Belle mentality which implies a phony sweetness and smugness. I don’t “agree” which their “spare the rod and spoil the child” approach which leads to a culture of childbeating in the South that is repellent.

    We also know, or at least there are strong indications, that homosexuality is often the repressed drive that leads to these ignoramuses being so anti.

  8. RubberBaron says:

    Hypocrisy rules and I’ve no doubt these religious bigots are more than happy for closet priests/pastors etc. to conglomerate at their strange end-of-term rituals.

  9. JohnMWhite says:

    “Local Baptist Church pastor Bobby Crenshaw said he’s seen America’s South being portrayed as ‘backwards’ over the school’s handling of the affair. But he added: A lot more people here have biblically-based values.”

    That is why they are seen as backward. It was written in the bronze age.

  10. Broadsword Calling Danny Boy says:

    Broga
    “Bobby Crenshaw – some kind of dumbfuck pastor – worried about the South being seen as “backwards.” Did he mean “backward”?
    Perhaps the good pastor was misqoted and meant to say “backwoods”.
    I think this schoolboard now feel very exposed under the media spotlight and will capitulate. I don’t think they would risk legal action.

  11. Buffy says:

    A lot more people here have biblically-based values.

    If you want to adhere to the dictates of Bronze-age sheepherders whose “god” advocated infanticide, rape, genocide and other such atrocities it’s your prerogative. But don’t expect you should be allowed to force everyone else to do so.

  12. NeoWolfe says:

    Come on, freethinkers!! We are scientists. Think back to your prom, did you announce who was going to be your date? Maybe to your friends, but to the school board? This appears to me to be a deliberate throwing down of the gauntlet in the face of the authorities. A challenge. A dare. And she got her wish.

    On the down-low, her girlfriend could have showed up seperately, and while no gay hater wants to see two guys dancing together, two girls is passed off, they hug, they kiss, they cry together, no foul. This was a stab in the face to “the man”. This is microwaved shit stirred with a spoon. A provoked confrontation.

    And while I see straight through the facade, I wish her luck in her quest. Is gay rights any different than any other battle? Pick your ground and attack your enemy where he’s weak.

    NeoWolfe

  13. barriejohn says:

    Of course she provoked them deliberately, NeoWolfe, and good luck to her for exposing their disgusting bigotry! I do think, however, contrary to what you suggest, that there was a danger here that, if this was not brought out into the open before the event, these girls might have had their evening’s enjoyment spoilt by a very unpleasant confrontation. I have to say, too, that I would definitely not have had the courage to take a stand like this when I was their age!!

  14. Broga says:

    I heard this morning on BBC, no less and on a Sunday, that she has 180,000 hits on Facebook. I don’t do Facebook and wouldn’t know how but that sounds good. And I also hear that the School Board are very worried about the exposure on talk shows, papers etc. This is being described as a “generation thing” in the USA.

    She has done a public service. Stick it to them.

  15. Alan C. says:

    #THE American Humanist Association (AHA) has stepped forward with an offered to organise and fund a prom#

    But…..but…….Heathens don’t do charitable acts, do they? :-)

  16. sailor1031 says:

    @Broga: that’s “backward” as the backward deep south – no more to say. Also “backwards” as in your rear view mirror; to paraphrase, “happiness was Mississippi in my rearview mirror”. “Itawamba, Mississippi” just about says it all right there.

  17. Lucky Jean says:

    At least Constance and her girlfriend won’t get pregnant on prom night!!

  18. NeoWolfe says:

    barriejohn said:

    “these girls might have had their evening’s enjoyment spoilt by a very unpleasant confrontation.”

    This is a possibility, but, they also might have their plans spoiled (you Brits spell strangely) by a cancelation.

    My point was that in a night club, two girls dancing together is not assumed to be gay, it happens all the time. There was no need for confrontation.

    However, you make a good point as well, and that is that change doesn’t happen until someone makes some waves. Blacks are still abused in the US, but nothing like before Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and look!! We have a black president. Your point is well taken. I would have made it myself but if you write a book on these sites, no one reads it.

    @ Lucky Jean. LMFAO!!!

    NeoWolfe

  19. barriejohn says:

    But I have a feeling, @NeoWolfe, that if these two girls had arrived at the prom as “an item” they would have been sent straight home, so THEIR prom would have been cancelled in any case!

    (“England and America are two countries separated by a common language”: GBS)

  20. We have just learned that a New Orleans hotelier has offered to host the prom free of charge. Sean Cummings told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson he was so disappointed with the school board’s decision he offered to transport the students in buses to the city and host a free prom at one of his properties.

    “We’re a joyful culture and a creative culture here and, if the school doesn’t change its mind, we’d be delighted to offer them a prom in New Orleans.”

    Yaaaaaaay Nawlins!! You rock!

    That item makes me lachrymose. So the rulers of Itawamba County want to be all pious and gloomy, well fuck’em, Nawlins is just down the road a piece and there the people are joyful and creative instead of pious and gloomy, so come on down here, kids, I’ll throw a party for you.

    What a swell guy!

  21. NeoWolfe says:

    barriejohn,

    Well, ya, if they started making out and fondling each other on the dance floor!!! At your typical high school prom that is prohibited even among hetero couples. Bottom line, you cannot make the case that these two lovers could not have gone to the prom together and had a good time without inciting a confrontation.

    I already said that change doesn’t happen until someone makes waves. And Constance decided she wanted a showdown, and she got one. Now, it will play out in the public arena. I wish her the best of luck.

    NeoWolfe

  22. [...] month the Itawamba County School District in Mississippi sparked outrage by cancelling their prom rather than allowing Constance McMillen, 18, to bring her girlfriend as [...]