Mar 12, 2010
commented on High School in Mississippi Cancels Prom to Prevent Lesbian Student from Bringing Female Date—and Potentially Incites Violence Against Lesbian Student
Since I sincerely doubt my email will be read (by the recipients whose boxes haven't returned an error message), I'd like to leave my response here as an open letter to the Itawamba County School District:
By now I am sure you have been inundated by emails outraged by the actions that you and the school board have taken in order to keep Constance McMillen from attending her prom with the date of her choice. I am also betting that most of these are going unread and unanswered, but I feel that I need to write you and say that what you have done is deplorable. Not only have you denied a young woman the right to go to her prom, but when challenged about it you decide to cancel the entire thing. I am sure you felt you had the best of intentions, but what you have done is commit social blackmail. Because she chose to fight you, you have made her into a social pariah who will likely be blamed for your actions. In fact, there have already been reports about people treating her unfairly. The reasoning behind your decision (that this is causing a "distraction") is, in my opinion, unsound. What this is doing is causing MORE distraction as people are daily reminded of the fact that they no longer have a prom. Something that may have been discussed at and for a short time after the prom has now become a topic likely brought up daily, now and everyday leading up to the date it was scheduled and likely until graduation.
I understand that in the Bible Belt you must feel that it is your duty to uphold the beliefs and mores of the community at large. After all, these are the people who elect you. But consider the stance that Jesus himself might have taken. He never preached a gospel of exclusion. Love and understanding above all else. How then can you justify canceling the prom just so that you can not have to be subjected to seeing two women dance?
Secondly, look at how history has favored other people who have taken a stand against a policy of inclusion. The Little Rock Nine, nine students who were to be integrated into a Kansas public school, were forcibly stopped by Governor Orval Faubus. This stance turned him into one of the most reviled men in the nation. While I doubt, unlike Governor Faubus, you do not aspire for higher public office, consider the ramifications of your actions in the light of history.
Lastly, consider the good you could do standing up for personal freedom. Ms. McMillen isn't asking for your blessing on her relationship, nor is she asking you to give her the right to someday marry her partner legally. What she is asking is for the right to attend prom like any normal high school student. Taking a stance for basic human liberty, however unpopular, is always the right choice. It makes you a hero and a true Christian.