Saturday, 13 March 2010
Constance McMillen just wants to go to the prom. She, like so many other high school seniors, has likely looked forward to the moment for quite some time, preparing and planning for the occasion. Only one detail differentiates McMillen from the majority of high school girls – she is gay.
According to officials of the Itawamba County School District in Mississippi, same-sex couples are prohibited from participating in the annual prom. When McMillen, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the policy, the district took a very drastic measure to avoid the issue; it cancelled the upcoming prom, encouraging the public to instead organize a private event.
“Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events,” a statement from the school district read, “the Itawamba County School District has decided to not host a prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School this year.”
The announcement came as a shock to McMillen, who articulated her reaction in a USA Today article, saying, “That's really messed up because the message they are sending is that if they have to let gay people go to prom that they are not going to have one.... A bunch of kids at school are really going to hate me for this."
In a turn of events not at all surprising, the ACLU has filed suit against the school board, claiming McMillen's right to choose her prom date – male or female – is protected by the Constitution. The issue is, however, dividing the local community. While some feel the school board had the moral high ground, others think the board's views are outdated and disrespectful to those who live a homosexual lifestyle.
From a Christian perspective, one has to take into consideration the fact that not all people agree that homosexuality is wrong or sinful. While our faith may not condone the lifestyle, that isn't to say that governmental or educational institutions should abide by the Bible's standards. Christians need to further understand that condemnation does not encourage repentance.
A fellow Xangan put it well in his post on the subject:
Discriminating against and persecuting people isn't going to lead them to repentance or to faith in Christ, instead it just alienates them and takes away their dignity and humanity.
Would you have made a similar choice if you were on the school board? Did the school board go too far to avoid the situation, or did they make the right decision based on the policies already in place?