Human Rights Campaign
Thursday, November 12, 2009
US school cancels prom after lesbian asks to invite girlfriend
An Alabama school has cancelled its prom because one of the organisers, a lesbian student, asked permission to bring her girlfriend.
Cynthia Stewart, a 17-year-old junior at Tharptown High School, had raised over $200 dollars personally for the event and had thought of the theme.
However, when she asked the school principal if her girlfriend could attend the prom, her request was denied. Stewart was also made to remove a sticker which said “I am a lesbian” and told she did not have much free speech at school.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has now taken up her case, demanding that Franklin County School System officials reverse the decision.
A letter sent from the organisation to the school also pointed out that officials had violated Stewart's First Amendment rights by asking her to remove her sticker.
Some teachers told classes last Thursday that prom was being cancelled altogether as a way to avoid having to Stewart attend with her girlfriend.
Finally, at least one teacher made statements to students on Monday indicating that the prom is back on, but there has still been no reversal on the decision about Stewart.
(Let me first say, I love the work that the ACLU does on behalf of ensuring equality. I preface with that because there are also many times where our efforts to be "fair" to one person or group may infact infringe upon the rights of others. Why did it have to be a major issue who this young lady brought to the prom? I didn't take a girl to my senior prom, but I didn't advertise it either. No one would have denied this young lady admittance if she showed up with another young lady on the night of the event...we have a responsibility in our quest for equality to be fair to those who just don't get it").
The student said: "I can't believe my school is doing all of this just to keep me from bringing my girlfriend to the prom.
"All I want is to be able to be myself and go to my prom with the person I love, just like any other student wants to do."
The ACLU has given school officials until November 20th to respond to the letter.