Constance McMillen case: proms as gay-rights battleground

A federal judge in Mississippi ruled Tuesday that a school district violated Constance McMillen’s rights when the high school senior was banned from bringing her girlfriend to prom.

But US District Judge Glen Davidson denied the American Civil Liberties Union's request to force the Itawamba County School District to hold an April 2 prom at which Constance and her girlfriend could be included. Parents will host a private prom, and that, Judge Davidson said, filled the need for a dance.

The gay-rights question on whether to allow same-sex dates at school-sponsored proms is becoming as prevalent in the Bible Belt as whether to host racially integrated dances. In the South, schools have often avoided racially integrated dances and constitutional questions by having parents or small businesses sponsor segregated dances.

csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/0323/Constance-McMillen-case-proms-as-gay-rights-battleground

The question that always comes to my mind when debating the gay issue is, do you believe that being gay, and the issue of gay rights is the same as a racial issue? Sould gays receive the same protections against discrimination under the law as racial, ethnic, or religious minorities?

For me the answer is simple. Gays are not the same. They are a deviant population and in most cases are making a lifestyle choice. As a Catholic I believe that the gay lifestyle is sinful and wrong and so I hate the sin, but love the sinners. Why should the many always have to give way and make allowances for the few? The gay population has the right to live, work, and pay taxes just like everybody else. They do not have the right to force acceptance of their discusting behavior onto anybody.

I Pray to Dear God Our Father that He May Bless All of His Children.

PS. Why does a "Former Catholic" spend so much time hanging around on a Catholic forum?

NOT JUST STRONG...CATHOLIC STRONG!!!

Since Constance’s parents pay taxes, the public school has no right to discriminate against her based on religious grounds. There are some Christian denominations that accept gays and lesbians, would not rejecting Constance mean that she is being discriminated against. The courts have already determined that discrimination based on sexual orientation is unconstitutional in the public sector, thus Constance is protected. I would point out that a judge ruled her constitutional rights have been violated.

So should anyone who does not live according to your religious beliefs face discrimination and just learn to live with it? What about divorced people, should we shun a divorced man or woman who brings a date to an office party or college dance? After all, divorce is against Catholic teaching.

Yes and No. No, because the Church recognizes civil divorce as a separation and as a way to civilly split property. Yes, because of the fact that a marriage is indissoluble, and the 2 people are not free to date or marry another person because they’re still married.

The problem is not so much the divorce as people wanting to “try again” with someone else, which they cannot do. You can be divorced, you just have to live as though you are a single celibate person until such time as you either get back together with your spouse or until your spouse passes away. If neither happens, then you must still live as though you are a single person, observing chastity as a normal single person would.

hmmm…generally speaking I think religious minorities might be the better comparison, since an individual has the choice whether or not to act in a way which expresses being Catholic or Hindu or atheist etc. I think you want gays and lesbians to avoid acting in a way which is publicly identifiable as homosexual, so a similar comparison would be not wearing religious symbols such as a crucifix or publicly engaging in religious practices such as prayer.

However, I think the Christian Science Monitor article is correct in their comparison of segregating proms based on sexual orientation with the (surprisingly) still current practice of segregating proms by race. Race is an not a behavior, but segregation is a behavior

I like it here. :slight_smile:

But it would be rediculous to forbid a college student or a co-worker from bringing a date to a dance because they had been divorced. This is especially so if that co-weorker or student does not share your belief system (i.e. if they had no problem with divorce).

Furthermore, this is in the public school context, where forbidding someone from doing so would clearly constitute a violation of the establishment clause.

Furthermore, this is in the public school context, where forbidding someone from doing so would clearly constitute a violation of the establishment clause.

First of all, yes I do take issue with people that do anything that is against Catholic teaching, and that includes myself. I take great issue when I sin. I confess and pray for the guidance and strength to avoid further temptation. I do not hold anybody to any higher standards then I set for myself. I do not judge others, for I am not given the authority to judge. However I have absolutely no problem calling a spad a spad, or a sin a sin. By simply accepting poor, deviant, or unacceptable behavior one condones that behavior and that is something that I will hopefully never do. In the case of divorce, I understand that there are many reasons why they happen, but I also believe that a leading cause is that in all too many cases people enter into marriages much too lightly knowing that, hey what the heck, if it doesn’t work out I can just walk away-no big deal.

As for the whole homosexual issue, I do not believe that it is wrong strictly for religious reasons. I would find the homosexual lifestyle to be un-natural and just plain old icky even if I was a athiest, Baptist, Hindu, or druid.

May God Bless You, and Lead You to His Truth.

NOT JUST STRONG…CATHOLIC STRONG!!!

cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/06/national/main6367855.shtml

They sent her to a fake Prom, while the rest of the Highschool went to a private prom on a country club’s grounds. They also setup Facebook pages where they are mocking Constance for not being able to go.
facebook.com/pages/Constance-quit-yer-cryin/367776042862?ref=sgm

Also at the fake prom, some of the LD children were sent there, they didn’t want them at their prom either apparently.

Earlier this year/late last year, the same school district ran the entire family of a transsexual student out of town. The individual was suspended multiple times for appearing too effeminate.

I fail to see what this tempest in a teapot is about, unless is is about Ms. McMillen’s attempt to make some type of point.

There was no unlawful or immoral discrimination in this case. Case in point. If I were a few years younger and attending the school, and wished to bring a young man as my date (I am male), they would have treated me exactly as they did Ms. McMillen. Indeed, if any young man had tried to do that (or any other young woman brought another young woman), the results would have been the same.

No discrimination.

What this is about thus, is, what is a date? One can plausibly hold varying opinions on what it is or should be (the Church has its opinion of course, informed by natural law and by aversion to the sin of scandal), but in reality that is all this is about. Not discrimination

The fact that some people are playing the discrimination card shows either their ignorance or their disingenuous exploitation of our cultural phobia of appearing bigoted.

Or both.

So is it OK they also seem to have segregated out the learning disabled from the Prom as well?

I’d rather start a new thread about that (if it is indeed as you imply), as I would have some interest in it there. That is an interesting topic, due to the logistics implied, and to the dynamics of the socialization among the learning disabled (among whom is counted my son). But prudential issues such as those pertaining to that are quite a different horse than the topic of this thread!

[quote="manygift1spirit, post:9, topic:191873"]

There was no unlawful or immoral discrimination in this case. Case in point. If I were a few years younger and attending the school, and wished to bring a young man as my date (I am male), they would have treated me exactly as they did Ms. McMillen. Indeed, if any young man had tried to do that (or any other young woman brought another young woman), the results would have been the same.

No discrimination.

[/quote]

Manygift, could you help me? I don't understand your reasoning. Just because the school would be willing to discriminate against male homosexuals, as well as females, doesn't mean no discrimination took place. Why should the school be discriminating against homosexuals, at all?

[quote="manygift1spirit, post:9, topic:191873"]
What this is about thus, is, what is a date? One can plausibly hold varying opinions on what it is or should be (the Church has its opinion of course, informed by natural law and by aversion to the sin of scandal), but in reality that is all this is about. Not discrimination

[/quote]

Again, I don't understand your reasoning. The school doesn't want homosexuals to bring dates to the prom, but heterosexual dates are okay. That is discrimination. Religious beliefs should have nothing to do with a secular school and how its functions are run.

The first part of that second sentence is wrong. It isn’t doing that. Read my original post again. To recap an example, if a male heterosexual wanted to bring a male as a date, the school (presumably) would not allow it either. No one is being discriminated against.

You could ask me, why would that guy want to do that? But the ‘why’ is not the point. It is simply to show that the school is not discriminating in any way. Underlying your question however, is rather, what does it mean to be a date? And that was my point. It could mean, someone of the opposite sex (the school’s apparent position), but it also could mean: someone of the same sex; any other student; any other person; or any subject of one’s affection (thus including, say, ones ferret or sports car), etc, in principle limited only by what somebody wanted it to mean. If whatever it means to be a date, is being applied to all people in the same way, there is no discrimination. Rather, this is about Ms. McMillian (or her advocates) saying in effect, I don’t like your definition of a date, and I want to use mine.

There is nothing in my stated argument saying or alluding that Ms. McMillian’s opinion is right or wrong, good or bad. (One can have a discussion of what do we want to mean by a date.) The operative part for this discussion is that it is just her opinion/desire. But what it most certainly is not, is evidence of discrimination. Dislike is not evidence of discrimination.

The school is saying nothing fundamental about the orientation of any student attending the prom, merely enforcing a uniform definition about dates. If Ms. McMillian was hetero but wanted to bring her BFF girlfriend, presumably the school would not allow it either. She is simply implored to respect what the school means by date, like everyone at the prom is expected to do. It (presumably) is not using different definitions for different people, so there is no discrimination.

Religious beliefs to not play into the logic here, correct. Being a Catholic board, I included that information as a tie-in, for potential use in follow-up discussions. But my original argument and this followup are based only on logic; no religious position is needed.

Okay, I think this is the heart of the controversy. Why does the school have a right to say heterosexual dates are okay, but homosexual dates are not okay? Your comparison of bringing ferrets or sports cars as dates is not reasonable since ferrets and sports cars are not capable of romantic relationships with humans. But following your thinking, do you think a school would have the right to bar dates of a specific race? What about dates who are a specific religion? I think your logic would say that banning blacks as dates or banning Catholics as dates is okay, because no student can bring a Catholic or black person as a date and thus the rule is equally applied.

If an entire category of people are being excluded, then discrimination is taking place. Banning homosexual dates is discrimination.

Some think of this as a civil rights thing. Others see it as an attempt by homosexuals to oblige governmental endorsement of sexual perversion.

Most likely, school proms are simply going to disappear, over time.

If a student chose to have two dates would that be allowed?

If a student chose to attend prom with their 40 year old date would that be allowed?

Actually if you read the up on the story the first issue that arose wasn’t the “date” it was dress code. The girl wanted her date to wear a tuxedo instead of a dress, the situation went down hill from there.

[quote="Dale_M, post:14, topic:191873"]
Okay, I think this is the heart of the controversy. Why does the school have a right to say heterosexual dates are okay, but homosexual dates are not okay?

[/quote]

If by "Xsexual dates" you mean to define date as " a person of the sex", note I did not endorse or condemn any such thing: I even noted I was not affirming or condemning Ms. McMillian's opinion of the school's definition. But whatever they pick, so long as they apply it to all people the same way, there is no discrimination. That is my point. This is merely a discussion as to the merits of different understandings of "date".

[quote="Dale_M, post:14, topic:191873"]
Your comparison of bringing ferrets or sports cars as dates is not reasonable since ferrets and sports cars are not capable of romantic relationships with humans.

[/quote]

You are on the verge of making exactly my point. You are saying something analogous to what Ms. McMillian was saying, a (strong) opinion on an alternative definition of "date". You, and her (and the school) are entitled to all these opinions. Presumably the school is entitled to enforce theirs at an event they are sponsoring.

But note that hypothetically, even if the school were to allow such unreasonable things (your words), so long as they applied the criterion to all students evenly, there is no discrimination. Once again, this is merely about what it means to be a date.

[quote="Dale_M, post:14, topic:191873"]
But following your thinking, do you think a school would have the right to bar dates of a specific race? What about dates who are a specific religion? I think your logic would say that banning blacks as dates or banning Catholics as dates is okay, because no student can bring a Catholic or black person as a date and thus the rule is equally applied.

If an entire category of people are being excluded, then discrimination is taking place. Banning homosexual dates is discrimination.

[/quote]

Consider two identical twins, same in every way, except one is Catholic and one is not. Now consider the universe of all people each of them could have gone to the prom with. Those two sets are very different (the Catholic's set is empty). Thus there is discrimination.

(I could present the same argument with different races, but the counterfactual of identical twins of different races would be a distraction. So I will refrain, although my logical point would stand.)

Consider two identical twins, same in every way, except one is gay and one is not. Now consider the universe of all people each of them could have gone to the prom with. Those two sets are identical. So there is no discrimination.

I understand this is a hard issue. The language has been abused for years now, and the distortion is so deep seated in our consciousness that this type of argument sounds totally foreign. But stick with it, it is worth it. Remember that I am not condoning the school's position. I am merely stating that those who claim discrimination in a case like this are wrong. Full stop.

Actually, that’s not right. Constance first was rejected to bring a same sex date, then later on, while maintaining the lesbian date, she stated she wanted to wear a tuxedo. That too, was rejected.

I am not sure where you got that term. I did not use it.

And this is the heart of the matter, yet you keep dodging it. Why is a public school allowed to ban homosexual dates, but allow heterosexual dates? Please justify this distinction. What is the difference that justifies banning?

No, its not a hard issue at all. You keep trying to avoid the discussion, which is what makes it difficult.

The behaviour of the school, the parents and the students is utterly disgraceful. Not only do they deceive and isolate Constance, they then do the same to the handicapped students, who they send to the “fake” prom.

The school does not belong to us Catholics or Christians. It is a public school and homosexuality is not a crime. Constance clearly does not believe being gay is wrong and there is no reason why she should be subject to the majority’s moral views.

[quote="manygift1spirit, post:17, topic:191873"]

Consider two identical twins, same in every way, except one is Catholic and one is not. Now consider the universe of all people each of them could have gone to the prom with. Those two sets are very different (the Catholic's set is empty). Thus there is discrimination..

[/quote]

This argument does not make sense. It is akin to the Frenchman who stated that the Law treats everyone equally in France for neither the rich man or the poor man are allowed to sleep under the bridge.

So basically we say that no one is allowed to bring a same-sex date to the prom when we know that it is only gay and lesbian students who would want this option. In effect this is discrimination- straight students would not want to bring a same sex date!!!

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