Neil Steinberg on Constance McMillen:
This is actually progress, in that five years ago the school would have simply barred McMillen. But with legal rulings emphasizing that discrimination against blameless individuals is bad, even if you're discriminating against them because they're homosexuals, the district figured that scrapping the dance altogether was the safer route. Better to disappoint the entire senior class than allow one gay couple to dance unopposed.
This follows in the fine Southern tradition of clinging so tightly to old hatreds that, when the rule of law tries to pry your grip away, you prefer to lose your fingers before letting go. In the 1960s, as federal courts ordered racial integration, communities in Mississippi and other Southern states closed their municipal swimming pools, filling them with dirt rather than allow black children to share the water with white children.
You have to marvel at the determination of that kind of prejudice—so strong that you would deny your own children the pleasure of a swimming pool during hot summers in the Deep South rather than risk the intermingling that so horrifies you.
Now I am sadly aware that many African Americans, like many Catholics, will bristle at being "compared" to gays, and so immediately observe that I am not saying their practices are the same—Catholicism is a religion, blackness is a race, and homosexuality is a sexual orientation. Everybody gets that. But they are all exactly the same—and you can throw in Scotsmen and Jews if it makes you more comfortable—in that they were and are the recipient of mindless bigotry disguising itself as moral scruple.
There's much more to the column—Steinberg opens with John Boswell and 18th Century British anti-Catholicism—and you owe it to yourself to go read the whole thing.