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
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.