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Settlement Announced in Same Sex Prom Date Suit

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on July 21, 2010 7:09 AM

The corsages have long since wilted, but if you have been following the story of gay Mississippi teen Constance McMillen, you still may be interested to hear that a settlement has been announced between McMillen and the school district she sued for the violation her constitutional rights after they cancelled her senior prom. Earlier this year, McMillen sued after the Itawamba County School District refused to hold the prom, rather than permit her to attend with her girlfriend.

USA Today reports that although McMillen's attorneys are calling the settlement a total victory for the stalwart teen, the school district is refusing to admit wrongdoing in the case. The parties' agreement calls for the district to pay McMillen $35,000 plus her attorneys' fees and to enforce a non-discrimination policy that in includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

School district attorney Michelle Floyd issued a statement upon the announcement of the settlement. "The Itawamba County School District believes that Constance McMillen's rights under the United States Constitution were not violated by any act, omission, policy, custom or practice of the district." The statement goes on to say the district agrees to "reaffirm" its non-discrimination policy. According to USAToday, the district's existing policy posted on its website does not including sexual orientation or gender identity.

Despite the uncertain effect the settlement may have on future students, McMillen is pleased with the outcome according to her attorney. "She wishes the school district hadn't cancelled the prom in the first place, but she thinks a lot of good came out of it," said Christine Sun, the ACLU attorney who represented McMillen.

Now finished with her TV appearances and with her duties as Grand Marshal of the New York Gay Pride Parade, McMillen is looking to the future and planning to attend community college in nearby Memphis, Tennessee.

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