A Mississippi high school cancelled its prom due to the controversy surrounding Constance McMillen, a lesbian student, who wanted to bring her younger girlfriend to the prom. On March 12, CBS’s “The Early Show” featured McMillen and her lawyer. The sympathetic segment didn’t include anyone from the high school.
CBS’ Mark Strassmann stated, “Proms and high school go together like boyfriends and girlfriends, at least in Fulton, Mississippi. But now charges of discrimination and violation of a teenager's rights have scrapped the big night.”
Lawyers became involved on both sides and the prom was eventually canceled. The school stated, however, that it was because of, “the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.” Strassmann lamented that, “Rather than allow in a same-sex couple, the big night was over even before the first dance.”
Erica Hill also sympathized, “Constance, you actually asked back in December. You went into the principal's office, as I understand it, and said ‘hey, look, I know the prom's coming up, I'd like to bring my girlfriend, I want to make sure it's not a problem.’ What was the answer you were given?”
McMillen wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Hill asked, “What was it like when you went back to school?” McMillen explained, “It was hostile, but it was like silent.” She later went on to explain that fellow students told her that she ruined their senior year.
Hill, however, was impressed with McMillen. She said that McMillen was “pretty positive about it.”
There may be hope for McMillen because her lawyer, Christine Sun explained she was, “fighting tooth and nail for that to happen. We filed a lawsuit yesterday. We're working on an emergency motion to go before the court to get the prom reinstated and so that Constance can bring her girlfriend to the prom, to wear a tuxedo, and everyone can be themselves.”
Later in the segment Hill reassured McMillen that, “And you said before, I know you want people to know it's okay to be themselves.”
McMillen agreed. “Right. It – you know, that's how I was raised. I don't know how everybody was raised, but that's how I was raised, to always be yourself and be proud of who you are. And it's as – it's like they're asking you, like for prom, you can be gay, just don't be openly gay. Just, you know, hide it for a little while.”