US lesbians win right to attend school event together

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A Minnesota lesbian couple have won the right to attend their school’s royalty court event together.

Desiree Shelton and Sarah Lindstrom, both 18, were elected to onto the royalty court but Champlin Park High School then announced a change in policy, saying that students would walk with a parent or favourite teacher.

Usually, students nominated chose a member of the opposite sex – such as a boyfriend or girlfriend – to walk with them. The royalty court is an event which takes place during winter events.

After rights groups the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Right filed a lawsuit, the school relented.

It initially said it wanted to protect the couple from being bullied but then said that all students would be free to chose any partner.

A mutual statement from all parties said: “The school district and its administrators and staff view this arrangement as an opportunity for ongoing conversation about school events and activities and for consideration of other ideas that will make our school communities inclusive and will enable us to realise the district-wide objective of honoring all students.

“District administrators and staff will include all students, including LGBT students, in that conversation. Sarah and Dez [Desiree] are pleased with this positive outcome and gratified by the school district’s commitment to honoring all students.”

Desiree and Sarah walked in the procession on Monday to the cheers of hundreds of students. They wore dark suits with pink ties and waistcoats

Champlin Park is part of the Anoka-Hennepin school district, which has been criticised in the last year for how it handles LGBT issues.

It has a policy of “neutrality” over the issue, which has not pleased liberal or conservative families, Associated Press reports.

In 2009, gay student Justin Aaberg killed himself. His family said he had suffered anti-gay bullying.