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Australia: Same-sex couple overcome ban to attend debutante ball

Joseph McCormick July 25, 2014
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A same-sex couple has overcome a ban on attending their high school’s debutante ball together.

Students Sami Burgess, 17 and her partner Karlina Macartney, 21, had intended to attend the ball at the James Fallon High School in Albury, New South Wales.

They were told, after seeking permission to attend together, that they would not be permitted to.

Burgess said the principal had said it was not “socially acceptable” for two people of the same-sex to attend the ball together.

The NSW Department of Education and Communities said the principal had denied ever using the words “socially unacceptable”, and had not made a decision based on Ms Macartney’s gender.

“It was based on the practice of encouraging students to select partners from within year 11, or to avoid someone with a significant age difference or a current boyfriend or girlfriend,” a spokesperson said.

“The principal finalised the decision after reconsidering the strength of the student’s commitment to the issue and discussion with the student’s parents.”

After having more than 250 people sign a petition, and several parents contacting the school, it gave way and said the couple could attend together.

Burgess said she hoped the decision would pave the way for other schools to do the same.

Related topics: Australia, ball, high school

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