March 24, 2010 in Nation/World

Judge won’t make district hold prom

Sheila Byrd Associated Press
 

McMillen
(Full-size photo)

JACKSON, Miss. – A Mississippi school district violated a lesbian student’s rights by banning her from bringing her girlfriend to the prom, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, but he stopped short of forcing the district to hold the event.

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson denied an American Civil Liberties Union request for a preliminary injunction that would have forced the Itawamba County school district to sponsor the April 2 prom and allow Constance McMillen to escort her girlfriend.

Davidson did say he will hold a trial on the issue later, but he did not set a date.

Davidson’s order says the district violated McMillen’s constitutional rights by denying her request to bring her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.

ACLU Mississippi legal director Kristy Bennett said Davidson’s order allows McMillen to amend her petition within 30 days, meaning she could sue for damages because she couldn’t get the prom reinstated.

Davidson said he denied the injunction request because a private prom parents are planning will serve the same purpose as the school prom.

School officials said in court they decided to call off the prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School because McMillen’s challenge to the rules had caused disruptions.

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