A gay couple at Chattahoochee High School in Georgia has been nominated to this year’s prom court, but they are upset that they won’t be able to win as a couple because school rules require a king and a queen, not a king and a king.
Joel Lerner and Carter Hebert have been a couple for 6 months and claim they are victims of discrimination because the school maintains the tradition of a king and queen, calling the decision, “heartbreaking.” Why? because, as the gay website LGBTQ Nation put it, “Students say that a heterosexual couple is up for nomination this year and a straight couple won last year.”
Being a in a relationship is not a requirement to be nominated nor does it ensure both members of the couple will win. There are 6 nominees for prom court, Lerner and Herbert, a heterosexual couple and, presumably, another 2 students who are not a couple, according to reports.
The school said they are open to changing the rules in the future, should students want to, to accommodate gay couples but it’s too late this year as voting for a king and queen has already started. Liberal activist blog Think Progress sees discrimination in tradition, saying the school’s argument that the rules can’t be changed because voting has already started “is almost surely not the case,” though they offer no solution as to how rules for voting already in progress can be changed.
Lerner and Herbert have started a petition at Change.org to force the school to change. The petition reads, in part, “Because of this situation, we proposed the idea of simply switching the name from Prom King and Queen to Prom Royalty. In this case, it would allow for two people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, to win. This not only allows the chance for a homosexual couple to possibly win, but it also ensures that the most deserving people win.”
It’s unclear how much support the idea has. Chattahoochee High has roughly 2,000 students, and the petition is open to anyone in the world, but has garnered less than 1,000 signatures in 3 days.
Some of the petition signatories left comments accusing the school of being “non-inclusive,” in spite of the fact that both Lerner and Herbert received nominations.