How many times does history need to repeat itself before people learn their lessons?
Ten? Twenty? Twenty thousand?
Itawamba County Agricultural High School, an otherwise obscure little institute of learning in Fulton, Mississippi, has decided to cancel its prom rather than allow an 18-year-old lesbian student to attend with her girlfriend.
Anyone who reads this blog knows how I feel about gay rights (if you’re new here, I’m unambiguously 100% for them, including full implementation of legal and social marital status). But whether you’re pro- or con-, no normal, well-adjusted human can look at the Itawamba situation and think, “Nice going, guys! Great way to handle this!”
To begin with: If I’m the principal of the high school, and I’m thoroughly opposed to/sickened by the “homosexual lifestyle” (whatever the hell that means), I still let Constance McMillen (pictured above) come with her girlfriend, and wear a tux (as she desires). Why? Because if she attends, the shock value lasts for, oh, eight seconds. Nine if she drinks too much beforehand and barfs in the limo. Maybe some students will say, “Hey, fag, nice tux.” Maybe. But it ends there, and everyone goes home.
Now, however, thanks to the remarkable stupidity of the school district, we have a national story on our hands. The ACLU of Mississippi had given the district until Wednesday to change that policy. The story is all over the internet. Activists will inevitably swarm the school. Plus, these kids no longer have their damn prom.
Ask any PR expert from Kelly Swanson to Ari Fleischer and they’ll tell you the same thing: The best way to avoid a crisis is to keep the flames low to the ground.
Nice work, Itawamba. Nice work.
Now, on a personal note: What sort of lesson are these people teaching? Hell, it’s the exact same crap that went on with blacks not all that long ago. One can be a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative or a liberal and still embrace the ideals of diversity. Not everyone is going to be exactly like youâ€”and that’s a good thing. A great thing. A wonderful thing.
I have two children. If they’re straight, I’m happy. If they’re gay, I’m equally happy. I honestly don’t care, as long as they feel fulfilled and loved.
PS: Good for Constance, by the way. Taking a stand is never easyâ€”especially at age 18. Bravo.