The American Civil Liberties Union has issued a letter to superintendents in Utah informing them it is unconstitutional to ban same-sex couples from attending school events.
A female high school student was asked to leave a school dance because she brought a girl as a date. Equality Utah instructed the student to contact the ACLU. Based on previous court precedence under the First Amendment banning a same-sex couple is a violation of equal rights.
Allowing high schools students to bring same-sex dates to school dances has been a highly contentious issue over the last few years. Last week the first lesbian homecoming king and queen couple in the US received hate mail after receiving national media coverage for their titles. One step forward, one leap back.
You also might remember the Mississippi prom that was cancelled after a student asked if she could bring a female date to the dance. This student sued her school for sending her to a fake prom. While in Utah it doesn’t seem like legal action will be made, the student is making sure other students don’t go through the same ordeal. Because they shouldn’t.
On top of being unconstitutional, questioning high school students right to be involved in a same-sex relationships has also proved to be detrimental. Youth who identify as LGBTQ are two to three times more likely to commit suicide then their heterosexual counterparts. Even in Canada where same-sex marriage is legalized, LGBTQ teens are still being bullied and some are still committing suicide.
Ending bullying by peers unfortunately seems like a lofty goal, but what can be done is ending the bullying from school officials. I know we’re saying that it gets better, but I agree with Canadian comedian Rick Mercer that it’s time to make it better now.