Lesbian couple will walk together at school event

8:28 AM, Jan 31, 2011   |    comments
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  • Sarah Lindstrom and Desiree Shelton (right)

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Anoka-Hennepin School District has agreed to let a lesbian couple make a high-profile entrance to a pep rally at Champlin Park High School on Monday afternoon.

The teens have been elected to the royalty court for the Snow Days Pep Fest. Traditionally, the court enters a high school assembly in male-female pairs.

"We feel like the parties came together in a good way," Attorney Sam Wolfe said. "We feel this is a positive development and it's really beyond the old pattern that it had to be a male and
female to the prom."

The lesbian couple want to make a political statement by entering together, but the school was concerned about the reaction that might provoke.

"The school was not entirely comfortable with that," Mary Olson said, public relations director for the Anoka-Hennepin School District. "They didn't think all students would be comfortable."

The teens filed court papers Friday, arguing the school's decision violated their constitutional rights to free speech.

"This will mean a lot because it's a positive statement for the LGBT community to see two openly gay lesbians being able to walk together," Desiree Shelton said. "We didn't think we'd be able to do that. We're pretty excited now."

The district, school and students went to mediation Saturday. Afterward they released a joint statement saying members of the Royalty Court will be able to choose whomever they'd like to escort them in the coronation processional.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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