Demanding to wear a tuxedo and bring your lesbian partner to the high school prom has been great for Constance McMillen. Ellen DeGeneres gave her a $30,000 scholarship check. Now she's meeting with Obama and being celebrated at Gay Pride parades and ACLU fundraisers at Woodstock. In Monday's USA Today, reporter Chris Joyner offered a promotional story with absolutely zero dissent or controversy allowed against the ACLU plaintiff:
Constance McMillen started the month graduating from a strange high school in tears. She will end it meeting President Obama, attending a benefit concert with pop legend Ronnie Spector and marching in a New York City parade.
It's been that kind of year for the openly gay 18-year-old who made national news when her Fulton, Miss., high school canceled its prom after she asked to bring her girlfriend.
McMillen will attend a White House reception Tuesday for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens from around the nation in recognition of Gay Pride Month.
The White House confirmed Friday that Obama will host the event and is expected to deliver brief remarks.
Notice how USA Today spins: McMillen "asked to bring her girlfriend." That's misleading at best: it should say "sued to bring her girlfriend." When the school district canceled the prom -- it's a tradition, but hardly an educational necessity -- McMillen's lawsuit canceled the prom for every student. But USA Today thinks she deserves a parade and an "All Love All Woodstock" benefit concert and a tribute from President Obama.
Here's how sympathetic Chris Joyner (a reporter for the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger, owned by Gannett like USA Today) recounted the lawsuit:
After the prom controversy, McMillen said, she faced a hostile environment from her peers and transferred out of her northeast Mississippi school district to a school 200 miles away in Jackson.
She said she broke down in tears at the graduation ceremony.
"I didn't really want to walk, but I did it for my parents," she said. "My name wasn't on the program."
Opponents were not allowed to speak, for it might ruin the Happy News vibe that gay groups demand. USA Today stuck to the leftist script of how McMillen had a "traumatic experience" with all that evil discrimination from school officials.
Christine Sun, an ACLU attorney who is representing McMillen in a lawsuit against the school district, said, "She has been able to handle this adversity with incredible grace and dignity."
McMillen sued the district after the school board called off the prom. A federal judge agreed the district had violated her constitutional rights.
As rumors of parent-sponsored dances swirled around the city of 3,900, the district sent a letter to McMillen's lawyer steering her toward a party at a country club. McMillen arrived to find fewer than 10 other students there. Most of her classmates were at a separate party.
"For any teenager, that has to be a traumatic experience," Sun said.
Joyner's story left out the $30,000 scholarship check, and ignored gay Congressman Jared Polis's bill to ban all kinds of anti-gay discrimination in public schools and force high schools to accept gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students at proms.
Joyner's Jackson story had additional detail, including that she can't wait to meet Obama:
She said she takes a lot of inspiration that the nation overcame a history of racism to elect its first African-American president."It gives me hope, because if you can overcome that hate, then you can overcome the rest of them," she said.