Constance McMillen, a student at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, made headlines earlier this year when she was barred from attending senior prom with her longtime girlfriend. When McMillen persisted, the school board announced it was canceling prom entirely.
McMillen — assisted by the American Civil Liberties Union — sued the school district. In a preliminary ruling, a federal court found that the Itawamba County District had violated her First Amendment right to freedom of expression, though the judge stopped short of ordering the school to reinstate the prom.
And while the case is still pending, McMillen has found herself some rather unlikely allies, including Green Day, who, along with stars like Lance Bass and "Iron Chef" star Cat Cora, have agreed to sponsor (with the American Humanist Association) a "second-chance" prom, to be held May 8 in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was the kind of thing that the guys in Green Day knew they wanted to get involved in the second they heard McMillen's story — even if they didn't exactly have a ton of experience when it came to proms.
"Well, I remember when the news broke about how ... they canceled the prom because she wanted to bring her partner to the prom," Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong said. "And we were talking about it, we were at the theater [for rehearsals of the 'American Idiot' musical and I remember [bassist] Mike [Dirnt] said, 'Why don't we just put on the prom?' and I was like, 'That's a great idea. Why not?' The weird thing is, I never even went to my prom."
"My high school was a little more open-minded," Dirnt said. "There were a lot of girls dressed in tuxedoes showing up for the prom. I didn't live in Mississippi, though. Sometimes you've got to force change."
And when MTV News caught up with McMillen on the red carpet for the GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, she was grateful for all the attention she's received. But the teen says she's just another girl trying to do what's right.
"I think you should stand up for what you believe in, and that's all I did," McMillen said. "I couldn't control what the school board did or what other people do. ... All I did was stand up for what I thought was right, and I think other people should do that too."
What do you think of Constance fighting to attend prom with the date of her choice? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.