Constance McMillen is definitely making a name for herself. Ever since her high school decided to cancel the prom because she wanted to wear a tuxedo and attend with her girlfriend, McMillen has been receiving an outpouring of support.
Itawamba Agricultural High School in Mississippi first told Constance she could not attend with her girlfriend. Later they were told that they could each attend but not together and were warned against any public displays of affection. Finally the school canceled the prom altogether.
The 715-student school is located in Fulton, a rural town of 4,000. The principal Trae Wiygul said, “I’ve been called every name known to man. I’ve been called a bigot and homophobic.”
The ACLU and gay rights groups have raised private funds for a May 8 prom in Tupelo that’s open to everyone but geared toward gay students. The ‘second chance’ prom was already in the works before McMillen’s plight came to light but according to organizers, “the outpouring for Constance enables this to be a much bigger event.”
Ellen Degeneres had McMillen as a guest on her show Friday and commended her for being “out” and sticking up for her rights. Ellen and Tonic.com gave Constance a $30,000 scholarship. Ellen expressed, “When I was your age I never would have had the strength to do what you are doing.”
Besides the $30,000 award, Tonic.com, a company that promotes the good that happens each day around the world, has also offered Constance an internship.
The American Civil Liberties Union has taken the matter to the U.S. District Court in an attempt to force Itawamba County school district to go forward with the prom. U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson will rule in the case and plans to do so quickly because he understands that “time is of the essence.” The prom was originally scheduled for April 2.
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