A school just banned kids from voting a lesbian prom queen

May 2, 2016 at 11:54 a.m. ET
Image: Giovanni Carlone/iStock/Getty Images

Good news: Students at a California high school nominated a same-sex couple for prom court this year. Very, very bad news: When the school administration found out, it decided the idea of two prom queens would be unacceptable.

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Hayley Lack, 16, and her girlfriend were nominated for prom court by students at Foothill High School in Palo Cedro, but the school principal said it wouldn't be "fair to the boy gender" if the girls were allowed to run as a couple. Lack called out the blatant discrimination on her Facebook page — and her fellow students are completely behind her. So far, a petition for Equality for Same Sex Couples at Foothill High School has received over 100 signatures.

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"The students and myself believe that there was equal opportunity for both males and females because every senior had the ability to be nominated," said Lack. "We are asking for anyone, regardless of gender, to be able to win king or queen. With that, they would have equal opportunity."

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In a similar case, a young lesbian couple at Niwot High School in Boulder County, Colorado, was recently told they couldn't be named prom junior princesses despite winning the vote in a landslide. Following backlash from students and the subsequent media attention, the school reportedly changed its mind. The same-sex couples were allowed to take part in prom elections and went on to be crowned prom princesses.

To cover up their discrimination, Foothill High School officials are claiming that prom court nominations have to be for individuals, not couples — despite two other (straight) couples also being nominated. They insist that a lesbian couple couldn't be prom queens, because that would be unfair to the boy gender.

It's so disappointing that the school is hiding behind tradition instead of acknowledging the fact that not all students are — or want to be — in straight relationships. But if tradition really is so important, they could do with remembering that part of prom tradition is for students, not school officials, to do the nominating.

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If the prom-voting rules prevent same-sex couples from being nominated, then surely the only thing to do is change the rules?

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