AP Discusses 'Legal Ramifications' Because Students Not at Lesbian's Private Prom

April 7th, 2010 12:00 AM

It's a day that ends in a “Y,” so that must mean there's an Associated Press article that hypes the woes of lesbian teen, Constance McMillen. A regular on mainstream media lately, McMillen hit the spotlight when she and the ACLU took her Miss. high school district to court for canceling the prom after she insisted on wearing a tuxedo and bringing her girlfriend.

A federal judge recently ruled in McMillen's favor but did not require the school to reinstate the prom. The school was willing to compromise, though, and offered to chaperone a privately sponsored prom last Friday night at the Fulton Country Club. But that still wasn't good enough for the media.

AP's latest McMillen article, “Miss. Lesbian Student's Prom Night Falls Short,” mulled over the possibility of more “legal ramifications” because not enough students attended McMillen's private prom and instead attended a different party.

“Senior prom fell far short of the rite of passage Constance McMillen was hoping for,” the article began, noting that “McMillen's voice cracked” as she spoke about her difficulties. The article reported that McMillen attended the prom wearing a “black tuxedo with a green vest” and brought a female date – but she still wasn't satisfied. Only four other students attended the prom, the article stated, while “the rest of her peers went to another private event where she wasn't invited.” McMillen said she left after just a half an hour.

“When I found out there was another prom,” McMillen said, “I called and asked if I was invited and (a student) told me the prom was at the country club so I took that as a 'no.'”

The article went on to ponder the possible “legal ramifications” because the students chose not to attend McMillen's prom.

Kristy Bennett, ACLU's Mississippi legal director, told AP that the organization is “investigating if [McMillen's] prom at the country club was a just a sham or a decoy.” Either way, she said, it's “evidence that what (school officials) represented to the judge didn't happen.”

The article also reported that Ellen Kahn, a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign (the nation's largest gay rights group), began an “online petition” today to “protest McMillen's treatment.” The names will be “presented to the teen and the school district, along with a comprehensive guide on tolerance in schools.”

The article quoted Bennett, Kahn, and McMillen several times throughout the article but no one was included from the other side of the argument. The article only briefly mentioned that the residents of the Mississippi town declined to comment, and the school board attorney and the superintendent did not return AP's calls. Even then, the reporter could've easily balanced the article by contacting other organizations, such as the Liberty Counsel and the Family Research Council. Apparently balance wasn't the aim here.

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