High schools around the United States are currently preparing for the event that many students look forward to their entire high school careers: prom. But this year, there will be no prom for the Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. Why?
School officials and school board members canceled the prom in order to prevent a lesbian student, 18-year-old Constance McMillen, from attending with her girlfriend.
After initially trying to ban just Constance and her date - an action that drew the threat of a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – the school decided to cancel the event for everyone rather than let the lesbian couple attend. That's right. No gay couples. No straight couples. No prom.
In response, people across the country have mobilized in support of Constance, who throughout this ordeal has stood up unashamed for who she is - and become a national hero for LGBTrights in the process. She now has hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans, and businesses volunteering to hold alternative proms for all Itawamba students to celebrate her courage in the face of discrimination.
There are also thousands of people taking action on Change.org, demanding that the Itawamba Agricultural High School change course and become a place where all students can enjoy events like prom - not just the straight ones. You can take action here.
As shocking as this episode is, the homophobia experienced by Constance is nothing new inside America's schools. Nationwide, nearly 90 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students report that they've been victims of verbal abuse in school, and more than 40 percent say they've been physically harassed.
That's why one of the few openly gay members of Congress, Rep. Jared Polis, is trying to move forward a piece of legislation known as the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would move our schools one step closer to becoming safe spaces for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. You can help support his effort here.
Western society is under endless change, and sexual orientation seems to be another battle field which includes the nations high school children. Homophobia, despite one's own personal viewpoint, is becoming an evil within itself. Religion of whatever kind becomes tainted with sheer hypocricy.
Forced marriages of under aged Muslim girls shockingly reported on New Zealand television..
A documentary program on New Zealand television shockingly revealed under age teenaged Muslim girls being forced into illegal marriages with older men in New Zealand. Such acts are common in other western countries, but until now were unknown by the general public here.
One girl has gone into hiding after being raped and forced by her despicable parents to "marry"the man.
Marriage is illegal under the age of 16 years in this country. Young people under 18 years need parental consent. The program dealt with cases of a 14 year old and a 15 year old forced to marry men by their parents. These people are Muslim refugees who are thumbing their noses at New Zealand law. New Zealand has generously given refuge to families from war-torn countries in southern Asia, the middle east and Africa. Is this is how they show their gratitude?
These people obviously consider NZ to be a soft touch. Mosque leaders deny any knowledge of these so-called marriages, but the various communities obviously know all about them. But they are undoubtably happening. Some girls are forced to go overseas to have a couple of children by their 'husbands'' to make them accept their situations.
The NZ Minister of Immigration denies there are the numbers to make any enquiries necessary about these so-called marriages. The Britishgovernment which has concerns about forced marriages of children there, will make it a criminal offence to be a party to these marriages.
And that was how I wrote the above post on my community blogs earlier this week. New Zealand is a democratically elected secular society which does not have an "official' religion. Be that as it may, New Zealand is still basically a Christian society with many Christian religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, and a variety of smaller religions and sects. As well as these NZ has many other religions such as Muslim, Hindu and many other asian originated religions. All members of these are permitted and encouraged to operate with freedom and respect for their congregations here in NZ. While we don't actually have an official religion, the Anglican Church (Church of England) is still the major religion here.
We have opened our doors to immigrants and refugees from many countries around the globe, and all we have asked is that they respect New Zealand society and culture as they would their own back in their home countries. Some practices and behaviour have been questioned and answered by Islamic leaders as not being allowed by the Koran, but culturally acceptable in some countries. But they are not permitted under NZ law or culturally accepted here. These despicable forced marriages will not be permitted, and those involved could be deported back to their own countries, or perhaps to some other Muslim countries, under certain cirumstances. New Zealand may have to follow the lead of the United Kingdom and make it an offence to be a party to illegal forced "marriages" of children here. Of course such marriages cannot be recognised here because marriage is illegal under the age of 16 years , and those under 18 years must have parental consent.