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Tuxedos for Two -- gay at the prom in 1980

As Rhode Island continues to wrestle around the margins of the legality of granting a divorce to two women, let alone the thought of sanctioning gay marriage, Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is taking a look back at GLAD's 30-year history.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is marking June, the month of graduations and proms, by highlighting the federal case Fricke v. Lynch. In 1980, GLAD successfully represented Aaron Fricke, who was told ‘no’ by his high school principal when wanted to bring Paul Guilford to his Cumberland, Rhode Island prom.

GLAD tells the story of this milestone in protecting the rights of LGBT students with a podcast, archival photos, news coverage, and video on its 30th anniversary website. GLAD founder John Ward and co-counsel argued that the school's action violated Aaron's First Amendment rights of association and free speech, and his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the laws.

The federal trial court issued an injunction just in time for the couple to attend the dance in complementary blue tuxedos (Paul in navy, Aaron in powder blue). And, as Aaron says in the podcast, “A good time was had by all.”

“Tuxedoes for Two” is the 6th in a 12-part series celebrating GLAD’s 30th year of fighting discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and those living with HIV/AIDS.  Listeners can hear the podcast and subscribe to the entire series at Itunes, or [here].

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