Friday, March 12, 2010

Gays at the prom? Nyet!


Well the school board for Itawamba County Agricultural high school in Fulton, Mississippi has pranced into the fray to protect students from that darn homosexual agenda. The very moment they found out that 18-year-old Constance McMillen would be bringing her girlfriend as her prom date to the senior prom an extraordinary meeting of the school board was called and once the screaming, the hair-pulling and the frantic, bug-eyed praying and "speaking in tongues" was done, they announced that the April 2, 2010 senior prom was cancelled "due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events". Yep, they might have been as shook up as a big old bottle of Monkey-cola but when a gay student popped up, "this will not stand!" they said, and cancelled the prom (or they would have said that if they had thought of it.)

Well done. Punish the entire senior class because there is a gay student in their midst. That is totally officer thinking and is also the sort of progressive thinking that has made our friends to the south (the United States) what they are today, intolerant and hate-filled. Or perhaps I am being a little harsh. Maybe "protecting" the young from the facts of life, and making Ms McMillan into a scapegoat for the cowardice of the school board is the way to go. Perhaps this is the way of goodness, righteousness and light. Nah, I don't think so.

It would appear that this entire debacle began last December when Ms McMillan, in an unthinking fit of honesty, spoke to her school principal about bringing her girlfriend to the prom. She was told then that this would not be allowed due to financial considerations. Apparently is had always been assumed that same-sex couples were only trying to game the school board out of the price of a ticket to the prom. These wacky couples were trying to save a few bucks by buying 'date' tickets rather than 'individual' tickets, and the the canny adults of the school board didn't want these sorts of shenanigans going on, so they banned same-sex couples. Obviously this is not just another example of homophobia and intolerance, it was merely an intolerance of kids showing some financial initiative and trying to pull a fast one. Whew.

But then they cancelled the prom and suddenly it does look like homophobia and intolerance of gays. I suppose that in a country where schools had to be forced not to discriminate against persons of colour or against multi-racial couples, this shouldn't have been much of a surprise, but it was. Then I looked into it a bit further.

Fulton is a small town in Mississippi and people there apparently tend to be conservative if not actually Conservative. The mayor of Fulton, Paul Walker, says, "I think the community as a whole is probably in support of the school district." So the town of 4,000 is locked in goose-step together, refusing to be dragged into the 21st century. Southside Baptist Church Pastor, Bobby Crenshaw agrees, saying, "a lot more people here have biblically based values." All right, so rape, slavery, the slaughter of innocents and the burning of witches is a-ok fine, but no gays allowed. Sounds heavenly.

There is still a couple of weeks to go until the cancelled prom's original date and one supposes that there is the slight possibility that the school board will come to it's senses and hold the prom with no stupid rules about same-sex partners, but as the senses of the school board appear to be completely addled I won't be holding my breath. There are rumours that there may be a private prom held and one can only imagine how welcome Ms McMillan and her date will be at a prom paid for by the religiously intolerant.

In the mean time Ms McMillan has to put up with the dull-witted snipes from some of her classmates ("thanks for ruining my senior year", bubbled one, apparently not being capable of distinguishing the difference between Ms McMillan and the school board. Yes, another successful Itawamba County Agricultural High school grad!) showing that she has more nerve and courage than someone her age really ought to have. She certainly has way more than anyone serving on the Itawamba County Agricultural high school board.

Anyway... Humouroceros

PS: This put me in mind of a similar situation in Ontario, Canada from 2002. Marc Hall got a court injunction so he could bring a male date to the prom at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic high school in Oshawa, Ontario. He also filed a lawsuit saying that the Durham Catholic District School Board had violated his human rights by trying to stop him from attending the prom with his boyfriend. He dropped the suit in 2005, saying that he was no longer willing to spend the time or the money on the case. The school board chair, Mary Ann Martin, said that she regretted Mister Hall's dropping the lawsuit. "If we had gone on to court," she says, "we're confident that our denominational rights would have been upheld."

First off, if they were so sure they were right then why did they drag their feet for three years and secondly: "Denominational rights"? What's that? The right to treat certain people like second-class citizens? If that is the case then this is one institution that it is definitely time to get rid of.

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