ACLU Defends Lesbian Couple Blocked From Becoming Prom Royalty

Haley Lack and Jenna Waite were recently nominated for prom royalty as a couple at their  Northern California high school.

Haley Lack says she won’t stand for blatant discrimination anymore.

Haley Lack and Jenna Waite were recently nominated for prom royalty as a couple at their  Northern California high school.

However, the couple was quickly informed by their high school principal that they would not be allowed to run as a couple. Citing that it would be unfair “to the boy gender” he suggested the couple run as individuals. He has defended his actions as promoting gender equality saying, “it’s got to be equal for both genders and that’s what it is all about.”

Haley and Jenna decided to fight back.

Haley posted on her Facebook: “For prom royalty, me and my girlfriend were nominated as a couple. We were nominated alongside two other straight couples. Now, admin has decided that since a lesbian could was nominated, they won’t allow couples unless it’s a boy and a girl. This is blatant discrimination and I won’t stand for it anymore.”

She has also stated that the administrator’s argument “doesn’t make sense” adding, “We don’t need a female on the football team or a male cheerleader to be fair. Why do we need a guy when the couple nominated is a female couple?”

The couple has received support from friends, family, and peers with a petition going around the school. Most recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California has sent a letter to Principal Bartow.

In the letter, ACLU senior staff attorney Elizabeth Gill demands that the school amends its policy and states that “Students have a recognized free expression right to bring same-sex dates to the prom, and that right extends to running for prom king and queen.” It cites the findings from a Mississippi federal court that stated this type of expression “is the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment.”

The letter also highlights that “it is also plainly illegal under applicable law—the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution, and the California Education Code—to discriminate against students based on sexual orientation.”

Gill ended the letter by stating “To prohibit same-sex couples from engaging in any activity regularly allowed different-sex couples is discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

Haley also cited that the results are “by popular vote of the student body, if they vote to have two girls for king and queen, then how is that not equal? The boys had an equal opportunity to win.”

This is not the only case of same-sex couples being refused prom royalty. Recently, a lesbian couple at Niwot High School in Boulder County, Colorado were told they would not be named junior prom princesses despite winning with a majority of votes.