The saga started back in February, when Hall informed his school principal, Powers, that he planned to bring his boyfriend to the prom. Powers sought advice from his superiors at the school board and had a meeting with Hall and his parents, at which he announced his decision that the same-sex couple would not be allowed to attend the event.
Marc Hall, the shy, blue-coiffed 17-year-old Oshawa Ontario Canada student who wouldn't take no for an answer when told he couldn't take his 21-year-old boyfriend, Jean-Paul Dumond to his high-school prom, won a major court victory for Catholic students yesterday.
In a comprehensive and clear decision granting Hall's request for an injunction, Mr. Justice Robert MacKinnon of the Superior Court of Justice said a ban on same-sex dates at the prom was a clear violation of Hall's constitutional rights, and ordered the Durham Catholic District School Board to allow Hall and Jean-Paul Dumond, 21, to attend the dance.
The judge said he could find no evidence of a single position on homosexuality in the "Catholic faith community" among the materials that had been presented during the hearing.
The Catholic catechism says homosexuality is contrary to natural law and cannot be tolerated, but goes on to say homosexuals should be accepted with "respect compassion and sensitivity and also that every sign of discrimination should be avoided," MacKinnon noted.
Hall's lawyer, David Corbett noted that while extramarital sex is also contrary to Catholic teaching, the school board had previously allowed pregnant, unmarried students to attend the prom.
The judge, who earlier said the case presented some of the toughest legal questions of his career, also provided his own views on what a high-school prom is about.
"There is clearly a courtship aspect to the prom, but that event is not solely about physical intimacy leading to sex. Many students, some without regular boyfriends or girlfriends, attend a prom with their friends to have fun and to dance."
MacKinnon said the school board does not as a rule inquire of prom-goers whether they have had sex with their dates in the past or "whether they intend to do so on prom night or whether they intend to so thereafter. These are private matters appropriately left to the students themselves."
Hall, in a white tuxedo and blue tie, said he "was very happy and so excited that we won." When he first heard the news from his lawyer at his home in Oshawa, he said, "I was jumping up and down and everybody was shouting.
In addition to allowing Hall to take his date of choice to the prom, MacKinnon's ruling made some significant statements about the Catholic Church's stand on homosexuality, gay rights in schools and Catholic schools' rights under the British North America Act of 1867.