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Canada’s 2002 Gay Prom Case: Marc Hall v Durham Catholic District School Board

The idea of equality speaks to the conscience of all humanity—the dignity and worth that is due each human being. Mark Hall is a Roman Catholic Canadian trying to be himself. He is gay. It is not an answer to his section 15 Charter rights, on these facts, to deny him permission to attend his school’s function with his classmates in order to celebrate his high school career. It is not an answer to him, on these facts, to suggest that he can exercise his freedom of disassociation and leave his school. He has not, in the words of the Board, “decided to make his homosexuality a public issue”. Given what I have found to be a strong case for an unjustified section 15 breach, he took the only rational and reasonable recourse available to him. He sought a legal ruling.

Judge Robert MacKinnon

via Canada’s 2002 Gay Prom Case: Marc Hall v Durham Catholic District School Board « Big Gay Closet.

That’s an excerpt from the ruling in a gay prom case dating back to 2002, in the province of Ontario in Canada. In that instance, it was a catholic school that decided to deny their student the right to bring his boyfriend to prom. Even in that case, the court decided that he had the right to bring a date the same as his fellow students, regardless of the stated ethos of the school. The decision was partly based on the fact that the school receives public funding.

The case in Mississippi should be an open and shut case. Schools either abide by non-discrimination practices, or lose their funding.

Constance McMillen isn’t trying to be political. Like Marc Hall, she hasn’t sought to be a gay activist — only a private gay person who fully takes part in all her normal activities, just as she would if she was straight. The school is the one making the waves here, making something that should be a simple, fun time into a political mess. She did not ruin prom for her peers. The school ruined it for everyone.

Let’s see how far the world has progressed in eight years.

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3 Responses to Canada’s 2002 Gay Prom Case: Marc Hall v Durham Catholic District School Board

  1. Reality Bites

    March 13, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Correction – in Ontario Catholic schools are not in any way private. They are fully funded by the government, with elected local school boards and as such are subject to government anti-discrimination laws.

    Interestingly, Marc’s lawyer also sought an injunction to prevent the school from cancelling the prom. The ACLU should have learned from that example. Bigots are nasty people and will gladly hurt hundreds of others if that’s the only way to hurt their intended victim.

    • CanuckJacq

      March 13, 2010 at 11:19 am

      Oh wow! Thanks for saying. I’ll correct that now. :)

      And that’s really interesting about the injunction. Talk about being one step ahead!

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