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Justice for Constance
July 20, 2010 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Constance McMillen receives $35,000 in a settlement with the Mississippi school district that cancelled her prom. Previously.

The district has further agreed to adopt a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, the first of its kind in Mississippi.

Statement from the ACLU.
posted by waraw (120 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome. They'd have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that meddling kid.
posted by Babblesort at 11:56 AM on July 20, 2010 [47 favorites]


Yes.
posted by item at 11:56 AM on July 20, 2010


Yay!
posted by brundlefly at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2010


Good for her!!!
posted by Lizc at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2010


Excellent! But shouldn't that number have maybe one more zero?
posted by Houyhnhnm at 11:58 AM on July 20, 2010 [16 favorites]


How nice for those bigots to pay for a good chunk of Constance's college education.
posted by Malor at 11:58 AM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is good news.

Petty sidepoint...why can't CNN get the aspect ratio right on the picture of her?
posted by iamkimiam at 11:58 AM on July 20, 2010 [13 favorites]


The school also agreed to pay McMillen $35,000 in damages and pay for McMillen's attorneys' fees.

I was a bit worried about the settlement because the lawyers usually take a third or more, so that makes for a nice chunk of change towards college or whatever she wants to do.

Money aside, good for her for standing up to her bullies — and winning, not just for herself, but for kids of all stripes, whose school districts are now on warning that this shit will no longer stand.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:59 AM on July 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


CNN couldn't bother to find a picture in the correct aspect ratio, huh?
posted by boo_radley at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Good news, for once.
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2010


Good. FUCK. THEM.

Whatever happened to the other school where they scheduled a secret back up prom and sent the LGBT/special ed kids someplace else? Because I've got another great big "FUCK. THEM." burning a hole in my pocket.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2010


How nice for those bigots to pay for a good chunk of Constance's college education.

Yeah. And, as mentioned in the article, "she received a $30,000 college scholarship from an anonymous donor."
posted by ericb at 12:03 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Damn. I'd totally have been willing to be banned from my prom for $35,000. I'm hoping every one of her classmates is saying the same thing today, too. :-)
posted by rusty at 12:03 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Whatever happened to the other school where they scheduled a secret back up prom and sent the LGBT/special ed kids someplace else?

That was her school.
posted by ericb at 12:03 PM on July 20, 2010


From the FPP's linked article:
"According to the ACLU statement, McMillen 'suffered humiliation and harassment after parents, students and school officials executed a cruel plan to put on a decoy prom for her while the rest of her classmates were at a private prom 30 miles away.'"
posted by ericb at 12:04 PM on July 20, 2010


Jinx, iamkimiam.

For reference:
CNN

Real life
posted by boo_radley at 12:05 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every person who was involved in the decision to exclude her should also have to pay her $35,000.
posted by Huck500 at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


Petty sidepoint...why can't CNN get the aspect ratio right on the picture of her?

I've made my peace with this issue, by observing that the aspect ratio is correct if the screen is viewed from about sixty degrees off axis. You see, this way the dimensions are correct from two viewpoints, one on the right and one on the left. The old way is only correct from one viewpoint, the center.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:08 PM on July 20, 2010 [23 favorites]


HA! Nice.
posted by Neofelis at 12:09 PM on July 20, 2010


I couldn't believe that image either, boo_radley. That's absolutely terrible. It's like they're trying to make her look fat and unattractive.
posted by codacorolla at 12:10 PM on July 20, 2010


Definitely not defending CNN, but that picture looks like a standard-tv-definition screencap stretched to widescreen-tv dimensions.
posted by box at 12:13 PM on July 20, 2010


box: "Definitely not defending CNN, but that picture looks like a standard-tv-definition screencap stretched to widescreen-tv dimensions."

So cnn is web-lazy as well. Sort of a laziness bingo, I guess?
posted by boo_radley at 12:14 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess it's just incompetence and not outright malevolence.
posted by codacorolla at 12:14 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Never credit to incompetence what can be profitably attributed to malice.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:20 PM on July 20, 2010 [20 favorites]


$35000 would have bought a lot of books to help educate the children of Mississippi.
Only through education can people be expected to open their minds.
posted by an egg at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Were I her, I'd trade it in for the chance to slap every single person in that school that participated in this. Not hard. Just a light, symbolic tap on the cheek. Line them up and I'd just go down the road, slapping each of them, so that they know that they were personally culpable, and had to experience some semblance of the public humiliation they forced on Miss McMillen.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2010


Woo hoo! More than enough for a plane ticket far far away from those assholes.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:24 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Petty sidepoint...why can't CNN get the aspect ratio right on the picture of her?

Uh, cause she's one of them thar eevil homos?
posted by notreally at 12:25 PM on July 20, 2010


$35000 would have bought a lot of books to help educate the children of Mississippi.
Only through education can people be expected to open their minds.


yeah she should totally just fuck off already and receive no recompense for what was done to her, what a whiner
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:26 PM on July 20, 2010


Woo hoo! More than enough for a plane ticket far far away from those assholes.

You know, I would have thought so, too. But she "is pretty certain she'll attend Itawamba Community College for a couple years". I can't imagine staying so close to home after events like that. But maybe she can do some more good in that community.
posted by gurple at 12:30 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty sure that looking at Mississippi's expenditures we could find plenty of $35,000 items that are waste or even outright bad, no need to worry about this judgement.

I think it's pretty fair -- between this and the $30,000 from a donor she'll be able to get a pretty much free college education (depending on public/private, etc). That plus a legal determination that she was wronged seems like a pretty good compensation for the harm, and as a plus this shouldn't happen to anyone else. Really a good outcome, IMO.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:33 PM on July 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


That being said, maybe the other kids who got invited to the fake prom along with her should get something too. I'm sure they felt pretty humiliated as well, and if school officials were involved (which clearly the judge believes they were) then the school is at fault for their pain as well.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:35 PM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


yeah she should totally just fuck off already and receive no recompense for what was done to her, what a whiner

I'd prefer that she had gone after the people responsible, personally, possibly ruining their careers. That would send a far stronger message to anyone, in any area, considering similar action. School boards are an easy target and the only people who really suffer are the children who have been deprived of funds or possibly the teacher who now has no salary.
posted by an egg at 12:39 PM on July 20, 2010


So, what did her girlfriend get?
posted by yhbc at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2010


Anonymity.
posted by waraw at 12:42 PM on July 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'd have thought she would be showing that sad joke of a town the back of her the first chance she got. But maybe staying around is her best revenge.
posted by contessa at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2010


Not hard. Just a light, symbolic tap on the cheek. Line them up and I'd just go down the road, slapping each of them

Oh sure, you'd start with just light slaps. But after a few, you'd loosen up, fall into a rhythm, and really start to get into the feel of the thing.

I wager you'll be taking a run up and swinging at them like a cricket bowler before you get to number 20.
posted by CaseyB at 12:45 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


A couple I know here in Yellowknife had their lease torn up after the landlord found out they were gay. Because they had sold their houseboat, they were homeless for ten days. They had to eventually take the landlord to court to get back the damage deposit of over $1k.

In front of the Human Rights Commission the landlord argued that God's law trumps the nation's. Good luck with that argument.

Here's a story at Yahoo.
posted by ODiV at 12:45 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


This settlement, including the cash damages, is what exactly was needed. Want to discriminate? Well, it will cost you thousands in lawyer fees, damages and lost time. Was that worth it?

And yes, they could have spent the $35,000 on books by just letting her go to the fucking prom.
posted by ALongDecember at 12:47 PM on July 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


Every person who was involved in the decision to exclude her should also have to pay her $35,000.

In my ideal world, every one of them would, and the district could keep it's money to better teach it's kids. Hard to fight ignorance by chipping away at the education budget, after all.

But it's not an ideal world, and I'm happy for Ms. MacMillan. She deserved more.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vis a vis my comment upthread--I thought there were two prom debacles this spring--one where the prom was just outright cancelled lest LGBT kids show up, and one where the prom wasn't cancelled, but all the god bless'em "normal" kids were sent to a country club and the LGBT kids and the special ed kids showed up at the gym. Am I getting outrage dementia? Because I was all set to be outraged about two proms (one of which now has been tied up nicely with a bow). TIA.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:54 PM on July 20, 2010


I disagree. Seems like a fair settlement.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:54 PM on July 20, 2010


Fine but two girl parts rubbin' 'gether can't even make no dumpster baby is all.
posted by hellbient at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


$35000 would have bought a lot of books to help educate the children of Mississippi.
Only through education can people be expected to open their minds.


They just got a salutary lesson: unlawful discrimination against your own citizens is expensive, and best avoided even when you want to engage in it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:59 PM on July 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


Vis a vis my comment upthread--I thought there were two prom debacles this spring--one where the prom was just outright cancelled lest LGBT kids show up, and one where the prom wasn't cancelled, but all the god bless'em "normal" kids were sent to a country club and the LGBT kids and the special ed kids showed up at the gym. Am I getting outrage dementia? Because I was all set to be outraged about two proms (one of which now has been tied up nicely with a bow). TIA.

If I remember correctly, the situation began as the former. After initial complaints, the second situation happened.

So, yeah, huge clusterfuck of fuckery.
posted by kmz at 1:01 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome news. I hope Constance enjoys spending every penny of that money.
posted by orange swan at 1:03 PM on July 20, 2010


Yes, Admiral, that was all one story--the prom was cancelled. Then it was uncancelled. Then it turned out the parents put together an off-campus prom, too, inviting everyone except the LGBT and special ed kids. Same awful story.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:09 PM on July 20, 2010


I wasn't expecting to see justice done here. Chalk me up as pleasantly surprised.

Now if we could get those schools in Georgia to stop holding all-white proms, I'd be really happy.
posted by schmod at 1:12 PM on July 20, 2010


$35000 would have bought a lot of books to help educate the children of Mississippi.
Only through education can people be expected to open their minds.


I think the lesson of all this is that, as long as a particular group of adults are in charge of their education, no quantity of books is going to help the children of Mississippi. That particular group of adults are the ones in need of a mind opening education, and I believe they just got a nice dose of it. I'd call it money well spent.
posted by Naberius at 1:12 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the clarification, folks. And, since I have an extra one lying around, I'll just say again: Fulton, Mississippi? FUCK. THEM. Way to go Constance!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:20 PM on July 20, 2010


$35000 would have bought a lot of books to help educate the children of Mississippi.
Only through education can people be expected to open their minds.


I'd be awfully surprised if this amount came out of the actual school budget. Much more likely that it was covered by insurance.
posted by anastasiav at 1:27 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well done, Constance!

For me, there were a few reasons to be outraged at the way this was handled by the school officials and the parents. Cancelling the prom, showing intolerance against her because she's a lesbian, holding a mock prom, etc.

But the thing that takes this from your average bigoted, ignorant and intolerant podunk schtik and catapults it well into full-on, turd sandwich douchebaggery is that, when they held their own, private prom, the parents didn't invite the Special Ed students, either.

That's a glimpse into the raw, festering cesspools of their souls, right there.
posted by darkstar at 1:34 PM on July 20, 2010 [15 favorites]


Count me in the "I wish they hit those fuckers harder" camp. I heard "$35,000" and thought "That's it?" But I'm probably spoiled by years of exorbitant judgments and my own vindictive nature.
posted by Amanojaku at 1:36 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


As George Carlin once said: "GOOD, FUCK'EM."
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:38 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


but all the god bless'em "normal" kids were sent to a country club and the LGBT kids and the special ed kids showed up at the gym.

What the hell was the theme for THAT prom? Showtunes and pudding?
posted by dr_dank at 1:38 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, Admiral, that was all one story

No, there was at least one other one cropped up a few weeks later in which a gay boy was refused the right to bring his partner to his prom, and after trying to stand up for it his parents kicked him out of the house for causing them shame... adding a shitty bonus to it all. I assume that's the other one Admiral Haddock was referring to.
posted by opsin at 1:41 PM on July 20, 2010


the LGBT kids and the special ed kids showed up at the gym.

What the hell was the theme for THAT prom?


Whatever it was, it cost $35,000.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:42 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's good when people who are supposed to be responsible grown-ups get punished when they fail. And these people didn't just fail, like an accidental "whoops sorry about that" fail, but actually went out of their way to be shitheads to kids. I don't care if they continue to think that homosexuality is icky, as long as they don't act on it.
posted by rtha at 1:42 PM on July 20, 2010


Showtunes and pudding

Oh man that sounds awesome. Why the fuck did we go with Under The Sea?!
posted by ODiV at 1:43 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Interview in the Huffington Post with Derrick Martin, who I mentioned in that last post.
posted by opsin at 1:43 PM on July 20, 2010


IIRC, the Ellen DeGeneris show also gave her a nice chunk of change for college.
It's actually good to know that these bigots didn't chase her out of town. Sure, she could move to the coasts, but that would simply validate the assholes ("well of course she moved to San Francisco"). That she's sticking it out shows a lot of guts. It's her state, too, after all.
posted by Gilbert at 1:44 PM on July 20, 2010


$35000 would have bought a lot of books to help educate the children of Mississippi.

Would've been nice if the school board thought about that before they participated in screwing one of their own students over in a nastily discriminatory way.
posted by immlass at 1:44 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I will note, again, sadly, that there was a trans kid at that very same school who didn't even get to finish the year, never mind go to prom. I wish Constance well, and I'm happy for her, but, well, yeah.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:45 PM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


What the hell was the theme for THAT prom?

"Those other assholes are about to get sued, let's party!"
posted by Errant at 1:48 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


...a gay boy was refused the right to bring his partner to his prom, and after trying to stand up for it his parents kicked him out of the house...

As opsin points out above, it was Derrick Martin, but the school ended up letting the boys come to the prom.

BTW Martin recently "teamed up with the Trevor Project and other groups to create Project LifeVest, an organization meant to assist LGBT youth facing discrimination after they come out.*"
posted by ericb at 1:54 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Only through education can people be expected to open their minds.

They're the ones turning their backs on civilization. If they don't want to be a part of it like the rest of us apes, they can fucking go extinct. Recall that this little tryst was only possible with the cooperation of the entire student body that was in on the school board's little racist games.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:55 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


2 more comments and this is perfect.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:57 PM on July 20, 2010


Just wanted to drop in to let everyone know that the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center sponsored Prom for All, for "anyone 18 and older who wants a second chance to experience their prom," where Constance was the guest of honor. Lots of other local businesses provided monetary support, and the turnout was fantastic. I was there as the photographer's assistant, snapping "prom" photos, so I missed out on most of the really exciting stuff, but I do know that, after all of the press stuff was over, Constance had changed out of her dress and heels so she could dance more easily. So I think it's safe to say that she and her friends/girlfriend had a pretty damn good time, as did the rest of the crowd.

The south can be awful sometimes, but it can also be really awesome.

(A related Jezebel article: Is The South Really So Bigoted?)
posted by a.steele at 1:57 PM on July 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sorry, not racist. Just homophobic and anti-handicapped.

I mean, how the fuck can you send mentally challenged people to a goddamned fucking fake prom and consider yourself part of fucking humanity? Homophobes, I guess I can understand being brainwashed by tiny-brained religious bigots. But how the hell do you justify punishing handicapped people? What fucking line in the bible are they reading wrong, is what I want to know.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:01 PM on July 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


IIRC, the Ellen DeGeneris show also gave her a nice chunk of change for college.

It was on Ellen's show that Ellen announced that an anonymous donor (mediated through Tonic.com) was granting Constance $30,000.
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on July 20, 2010


Count me in the "I wish they hit those fuckers harder" camp. I heard "$35,000" and thought "That's it?" But I'm probably spoiled by years of exorbitant judgments and my own vindictive nature.

I'm with you. But, putting it in perspective, $35,000 actually means something in Constance's hometown.
"...what the hell is going on with this world? Or this town? The median income for the city is barely over $15,000. Almost 10 percent of the families and 17 percent of the population are below the poverty line, including 21 percent of people under the age of 21. If you're the mayor, wouldn't you be thinking about how to rally a community around improving schools, creating jobs or better social services? All you can do is ostracize a lesbian in high school to show that you're listening to public opinion? Town needs a new mayor.

And finally, if you're the superintendent, Theresa McNeese, this has to be a moment of irony. On the county's website she posted this: 'My personal motto of "Expect More, Do More and Achieve More" is what I want each individual associated with our district to adopt.' Unless you're gay, I guess."*
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on July 20, 2010


That aspect ratio distortion by CNN is deliberate and disgraceful.

CNN is FOX without the guts to admit it.
posted by jamjam at 2:19 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's actually good to know that these bigots didn't chase her out of town. Sure, she could move to the coasts, but that would simply validate the assholes ("well of course she moved to San Francisco"). That she's sticking it out shows a lot of guts. It's her state, too, after all.

Yes, thank you! I've long-held the belief that as long as there is gay flight to the coastal urban centers, we're never going to truly change attitudes in this country. It's as important to stand up and be queer in whatever small town you live in as it is anywhere else. It's a tougher fight, often without an obviously community to lean on for support while you do it, but until Teh Gay isn't some far-off boogeyman but actually exists within plain sight of every Dairy Queen in every small town across the country, we're only going to remain paragons of ick in the minds of a lot of Americans.

(I live in a town of 9000 in eastern WA state, so I'm not talking out my ass here.)
posted by hippybear at 2:20 PM on July 20, 2010


There was another prom incident this year.

Chase and Gordon Get to Go to the Prom in North Carolina (thanks to über cool parents who confronted the school and district to allow the boys to attend the prom).
posted by ericb at 2:21 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, thank you! I've long-held the belief that as long as there is gay flight to the coastal urban centers, we're never going to truly change attitudes in this country. It's as important to stand up and be queer in whatever small town you live in as it is anywhere else.
"New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C., Boston, San Diego, Denver, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, all make the list of the 20 gayest metros. But so do Dallas, Columbus, Ohio, Santa Rosa and Sacramento, Springfield, Massachusetts, Portland, Maine, and college towns like Eugene, Oregon, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Ithaca, New York.

The idea that most gay people live in urban enclaves like the Castro in San Francisco or Chelsea in New York City is something of a myth, [Gary] Gates [, a demographer at UCLA’s Williams Institute], notes. 'Gay people live everywhere,' Gates says 'in cities, suburbs, and even in the country—one in seven same-sex couples live in rural areas.' The 2000 Census found same-sex couples living in 99 percent of U.S. counties."
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Damn. Good lesson in sticking up for yourself-- I wasn't allowed to go to my girlfriend's Homecoming, so I stayed home and watched Pretty in Pink instead. 35,000 would have made that night a lot sweeter.
posted by karminai at 2:36 PM on July 20, 2010


ericb: great link, and I don't dispute it. But I do dispute that a lot of the gay people living outside of the liberal urban enclaves are actually willing to be identified as queer in the community at large. My experience (which is far from universal, but certainly takes into account attitudes and anecdotes from 4 states and towns mostly under 13,000 residents) is that the rural queers have a "leave me alone, don't let anyone know I'm gay unless we're at a private party, and got forbid I appear in public with my partner and have us identified as being a couple" kind of attitude. Coming from the activist time and mindset in which I emerged into queer consciousness (1990 is when I came out), it feels counter-productive to me. The closet is insidious and will swallow you if you aren't vigilant and work against its malicious pull.

Even in the greater Spokane area, population of just under a half-million, a lot of the GLBT people I meet are more inclined to never be identified as queer to anyone they don't know. If that's the attitude in a city of this size, then our fight truly is uphill all the way for as far as I can see into the future.
posted by hippybear at 2:38 PM on July 20, 2010


That aspect ratio distortion by CNN is deliberate and disgraceful.

I'm not so sure. For example, take a look at the aspect ratio distortion of the still image at the post regarding Shirley Sherrod.
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, how the fuck can you send mentally challenged people to a goddamned fucking fake prom and consider yourself part of fucking humanity? Homophobes, I guess I can understand being brainwashed by tiny-brained religious bigots. But how the hell do you justify punishing handicapped people? What fucking line in the bible are they reading wrong, is what I want to know.

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:01 PM on July 20 [2 favorites +] [!]



They're not misreading anything. Leviticus 21:16-21:23 states quite explicitly that people with handicaps aren't allowed to worship at the altar. See for yourself.
posted by Ndwright at 2:43 PM on July 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


The closet is insidious and will swallow you if you aren't vigilant and work against its malicious pull.

I struggle a lot with people who are so gung-ho about 'outing' others. If you're not ready to come out, that's your own decision. It's a very personal thing, and frankly, it's no one else's business until you choose to make it their business.

I've never sat down with my parents and said, "Hey, Mom, Dad, I like girls." I've also never sat down and said, "Hey, Mom, Dad, I like boys." When the situation comes up, it comes up.

And I feel that someone else deciding for me that I'm in some proverbial closet is just as judgmental as someone deciding for me who I'm supposed to love.
posted by karminai at 2:48 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


But wouldn't the ultimate "fuck you" be to donate the money back to the school to start a glaad club?
posted by toekneebullard at 2:49 PM on July 20, 2010


But I do dispute that a lot of the gay people living outside of the liberal urban enclaves are actually willing to be identified as queer in the community at large.

I agree. It's much more difficult to be out in many areas -- suburban, rural, etc. -- than in larger urban areas.

Brings to mind the 2003 documentary 'Farm Family: In Search of Gay Life in Rural America.'
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I struggle a lot with people who are so gung-ho about 'outing' others.

Well, I think you misread what I said, then. Coming out is a personal decision, and is a daily, ongoing process, not a one-time event. I'd never out someone against their will. But unless people take a stand on an individual basis, then the mass at large won't move forward.
posted by hippybear at 2:54 PM on July 20, 2010


They're not misreading anything. Leviticus 21:16-21:23 states quite explicitly that people with handicaps aren't allowed to worship at the altar. See for yourself.

You're not kidding:

17Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.

18For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,

19Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,

20Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

21No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.


This school district is hardcore.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:54 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


But wouldn't the ultimate "fuck you" be to donate the money back to the school to start a glaad club?

Constance hopes such might come out of this incident:
“I’m so glad this is all over. I won’t ever get my prom back, but it’s worth it if it changes things at my school. I hope this means that in the future students at my school will be treated fairly. I know there are students and teachers who want to start a gay-straight alliance club, and they should be able to do that without being treated like I was by the school.”
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on July 20, 2010


$35000 would have bought a lot of books to help educate the children of Mississippi.
Only through education can people be expected to open their minds.


What, no man, just no. Education isn't the only way people change their minds. Sometimes, people change their minds through repeated exposure to something. If gay kids at her high school next year get to go to prom, and every gets to see that it's no big deal, that's going to open people's minds a lot more than whatever they were going to read in a textbook.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:00 PM on July 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


My first thought was that if the $35,000 was meant to be punitive, it's not likely to work. Have teachers and administrators been disciplined or dismissed for their actions? Is the school district going to be pushed into accepting all students at the prom rather than shut the event down in entirety, or will they simply cut out proms altogether and watch as "private parties" organized by affluent parents fill that role with much more room to discriminate? Will the people in the school district think "We really shouldn't do that because it costs us money." or "That heathen lesbian took a chunk out of our district funds, we resent her kind!"

Sure, it's nice that Constance McMillen gets some sort of compensation for her troubles. It just seems that on her side, money is a poor way of compensating for what happened. On the school district's side, it's just throwing education dollars away without any effort against the real problem, the people involved.
posted by Saydur at 3:14 PM on July 20, 2010


This school district is hardcore.

You should see what they do to people who mix fabrics.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:17 PM on July 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


anastasiav: "Much more likely that it was covered by insurance."

Which then results in higher premiums and fewer textbooks and salary increases. The school's administration should be brought up for fiduciary irresponsibility.
posted by rhizome at 3:32 PM on July 20, 2010


This makes me happy. To hell with those ignorant, bullying hillbillies. I'm so sick of closed minds and persecution.
posted by loosemouth at 4:07 PM on July 20, 2010


Leviticus 21:16-21:23

Well I'll be damed: YHWH hates little people now, too? What a dick.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:46 PM on July 20, 2010


(and good on Constance.)
posted by joe lisboa at 4:47 PM on July 20, 2010


I'm with you. But, putting it in perspective, $35,000 actually means something in Constance's hometown.

*sighs* Yeah, I know, and, no mistake, it's something. But if I may be petty for a moment, I want these guys to feel a moment of panic in their lizard-brains the next time they even think of trying something like this. I want to hold their hands to the flame; I want them to develop a Pavlovian fear of acting on their misguided bullshit, like a beaten dog flinching at a chain, and I don't know if this is enough to -- pardon the expression -- put the fear of God in 'em. I know it's wrong, but fuck it: I still would have sunk it in deeper.

Yes, thank you! I've long-held the belief that as long as there is gay flight to the coastal urban centers, we're never going to truly change attitudes in this country.

And the non-Metro gays act as little outposts of civilization, even for us hetero city folk. I had a business trip to Texas not that long ago, and as a swarthy guy, there were definitely points were I wasn't super comfortable wandering around, trying to find a place to eat. Finally I walked into some franchise BBQ joint, and when I was greeted at the counter by a cheery bear, I literally sighed with relief. "Oh, I won't get lynched for looking like I'm probably a Muslim? Great! I'll have some of the baked beans, and ..."

Damn. Good lesson in sticking up for yourself-- I wasn't allowed to go to my girlfriend's Homecoming, so I stayed home and watched Pretty in Pink instead. 35,000 would have made that night a lot sweeter.

That sucks. Well, not the "Pretty in Pink" part I guess, but the rest. I hope you got some satisfaction, in whatever way, since then.
posted by Amanojaku at 5:11 PM on July 20, 2010


Er, not to shit on Texas. When I went to Austin, I found it quite nice
posted by Amanojaku at 5:14 PM on July 20, 2010


In March, a federal judge ruled that McMillen's First Amendment rights were violated when her school district refused to let her attend her prom in a tux with a girl.

I approve of the message of tolerance, but this I understand less. The First Amendment covers communication, and hers was bringing a same-sex date to the prom. But there are many other forms of communication that students would love to express at a prom besides those that concern homosexuality. Does this decision open up any other sorts of freedom of expression in public schools?

Legal eagles, opinions?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:34 PM on July 20, 2010


Legal eagles, opinions?

Just a stab in the dark, but maybe it has more to do with freedom of association than freedom of expression per se? Dunno.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:53 PM on July 20, 2010


The jury has found you guilty of being a redneck, white bread, chickenshit motherfucker...
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:12 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


And yes, they could have spent the $35,000 on books by just letting her go to the fucking prom.

If I could pound my keyboard 500 million times to favorite this with fucking A+ Incredible Hulk level power and not break everything I own I would.
posted by spicynuts at 6:24 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the First Amendment is about more than just communication:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The right of freedom of assembly is probably a big factor, here. But freedom of speech is also implicated, since her wearing a tux could well be seen as an expressive act.
posted by darkstar at 6:35 PM on July 20, 2010


Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

Oh crap, no, not the stones broken...
posted by Huck500 at 6:48 PM on July 20, 2010


That aspect ratio distortion by CNN is deliberate and disgraceful.

This is false in the sense that they didn't deliberately target this girl, and true in the sense that CNN.com has been stretching 4:3 images in 16:9 frames for like five years; maybe ten years for no fucking god damn reason and they never stop and if they don't stop I will cry until I will literally drown every CNN employee in my tears
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:52 PM on July 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


From reading the New International version of Leviticus 21, it sound more like they are talking about priests, not anyone who wants to worship at the altar.

Not that it makes it much better (if your daughter prostitutes herself--put her in the fire).

More to the point these supposed Bible reading folks are certainly going against a repeatedly told message of the New Testament.
posted by eye of newt at 8:49 PM on July 20, 2010


More to the point these supposed Bible reading folks are certainly going against a repeatedly told message of the New Testament.

Not to mention eating cheeseburgers and shrimp like they're going out of style.
posted by hippybear at 9:15 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, people change their minds through repeated exposure to something. If gay kids at her high school next year get to go to prom, and every gets to see that it's no big deal, that's going to open people's minds a lot more than whatever they were going to read in a textbook.

It doesn't even have to be high quality. Will and Grace was a terrible show, but there were a few studies that showed people gave different answers before and after watching a few episodes- people generally gave less homophobic answers after.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:20 PM on July 20, 2010


I am going to get crucified, stoned, and then crucified again for this - but I have to ask: did Constance have the academic record to go to an out of state college? People are decrying her choice of Community College, but if she didn't have the grades/SAT scores to get into a "good" school, the money is a moot point.

Being gay and having money isn't going to get you into college. Especially since she didn't get the money until after applications were due and acceptance letters had been mailed out. She had probably made her choices long, LONG before prom was even an issue. I know that by April, most seniors in my school had their decisions about college all wrapped up. She had probably decided to stick around before this prom debacle even started.

Also, why do we have to judge where she wants to go? Maybe she wants to stay close to her family or her girlfriend - there's nothing wrong with that. There's no reason why we on the outside should be elitist and imply she should go someplace "better." (Though yeah, I think I'd want to move if I were treated like that - but despite growing up queer in a small town, I was never ostracized [Praise Dog].)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:13 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


*crucifies, stones, and then crucifies grapefruit moon again*
posted by Malor at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2010


Double-crucifying someone is serious no-fun, but I'm glad to see that Malor is giving her a doobie between crucifixions.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:04 AM on July 21, 2010


It's as important to stand up and be queer in whatever small town you live in as it is anywhere else.

This is very true, but at the same time, you can't really blame people for just wanting to get the fuck out of dodge and go where you're actually treated like a human being.
posted by antifuse at 10:20 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Of course I don't blame them for wanting to have an easier life. But I do recognize that there are an awful lot of people who don't have any exposure to gay people in real life, and applaud those who are willing to stay in the smaller towns and be out and be themselves and work to change the minds which need changing.

People in the US are basically good people, and often only need a chance to get over the tiny speedbump hurdle of lack of exposure to show how good they truly are. And they are often glad to be given that opportunity. The small fraction who are true haters are as plentiful in the large cities as they are in the small towns. It's all about perspective, and the random chance of coming across a true asshole in one's life (not just school administrators who feel their penises are too small) is something one takes no matter where one lives.
posted by hippybear at 11:18 PM on July 21, 2010


It's not the responsibility of gay people to give up their time and opportunities (and, in many cases, bodily integrity and lives) in order to serve as walking educations for homophobes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:41 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe she wanted to stay there for many of the same reasons straight people do - family, friends, partner.
posted by mippy at 3:45 AM on July 22, 2010


It's not the responsibility of gay people to give up their time and opportunities (and, in many cases, bodily integrity and lives) in order to serve as walking educations for homophobes.

It's everyone's responsibility to be a part of making the world the place we want to live in. I don't think anyone's suggesting that people martyr themselves. But we get many chances in life where we can choose between avoiding discomfort and fighting injustice.

It's never been fair that some of the biggest strides come from when the disadvantaged group put themselves out there but it has always been that way.
posted by phearlez at 7:24 AM on July 22, 2010


It's everyone's responsibility to be a part of making the world the place we want to live in. I don't think anyone's suggesting that people martyr themselves. But we get many chances in life where we can choose between avoiding discomfort and fighting injustice.

Yes, and avoiding discomfort is a perfectly reasonable, acceptable choice.
posted by antifuse at 8:35 AM on July 22, 2010


It's not the responsibility of gay people to give up their time and opportunities (and, in many cases, bodily integrity and lives) in order to serve as walking educations for homophobes.

If you really believe that, then you've discounted the entire history of the gay rights movement from Stonewall forward.
posted by hippybear at 9:35 AM on July 22, 2010


I think it's admirable when people put themselves out like that. But it's not their obligation to do so. The entirety, 100%, of the obligation is on people to not be homophobic shitbags.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:04 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you really believe that, then you've discounted the entire history of the gay rights movement from Stonewall forward.

Those were very heroic people. But it's not the *responsibility* of every single gay person to be that heroic.
posted by antifuse at 2:05 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


And, if you use the handy scrollback feature built into your web browser you will see that I never once said it was anyone's responsibility, let alone for every single gay person to be thus. All I said was that it will take people willing to stay in the small towns and be out to change the minds of others living in small towns, and that I applaud those who do so, and so do myself.

When did this turn into a universal statement? Certainly not in anything I wrote.
posted by hippybear at 3:04 PM on July 22, 2010


hippybear, you said it was their responsibility when you made that reply to Pope Guilty's comment, which was a single sentence saying that it's not their responsibility. That is pretty clear-cut, even if you didn't mean it that way.
posted by revfitz at 3:12 PM on July 22, 2010


Um... No I didn't. Sorry if you took it that way, but there is nothing about universal activism in my statement about the history of the gays rights movement. Sorry. Maybe the lines on your computer screen are too wide if you're reading between them that much.
posted by hippybear at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2010


I think it's admirable when people put themselves out like that. But it's not their obligation to do so. The entirety, 100%, of the obligation is on people to not be homophobic

You can fix the problem or you can assign blame.

Nobody has an obligation to change the world. But you either do that or you get change on other people's timetable. Parse the word "obligation" as precisely as you like, but change happens because people make hard choices.
posted by phearlez at 6:50 PM on July 22, 2010


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