Marc Hall v. Durham Catholic School Board
Marc Hall v. Durham Catholic School Board was a 2002 court case in which Marc Hall, a Canadian teenager, fought a successful legal battle against the Durham Catholic District School Board to bring a same-sex date to his high school prom. The case made Canadian and international headlines.
Marc Hall v. Durham Catholic School Board began when Oshawa, Ontario's Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School asked students attending the prom to submit the names of the guests they intended to bring. Hall, who is gay, submitted the name of his 21-year-old boyfriend, Jean-Paul Dumond, and was denied on the grounds that homosexuality is incompatible with Roman Catholic teaching.
Supported by his family and a wide variety of community organizations, Hall thus took the school board to court in a two-day hearing that began on May 6, 2002. Hall's lawyer, David Corbett, argued that the denial of his request violated the Ontario Education Act, which requires school boards in the province not to discriminate. The school board, on the other hand, argued that court interference in its decision would amount to denying its religious freedom.
Corbett argued that an organization that accepts public funding (Catholic school boards in Ontario are fully funded in the same manner as public schools) has to be accountable to the same laws (including anti-discrimination laws) as other public institutions. The school board's lawyer countered that Section 93 of the Canadian constitution protects the Catholic board's rights to conduct its affairs in accordance with Catholic teaching.
In addition, Corbett noted that while extramarital sex is also contrary to Catholic teaching, the school board had previously allowed pregnant, unmarried students attend the prom.
On May 10, Justice Robert McKinnon granted an interlocutory injunction ordering that Hall be allowed to attend the prom with Dumond. The justice also ordered that the school would not cancel the prom. He did not decide on the larger issues raised by the case, leaving those to be heard at a later trial. Hall attended the prom with Dumond that evening.
Director Larry Peloso created a one-hour documentary on the case entitled Prom Fight: The Marc Hall Story. An unrelated television movie, Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story, aired on CTV in 2004 with Aaron Ashmore starring as Hall.
Hall also appeared in the Queer as Folk season 2 finale as a party guest during the Rage party at Babylon.
Author Robert Joseph Greene referenced the court case in his book This High School Has Closets, where Marc Hall is seen as a hero to the main character.
- Gay Activist Student Marc Hall Drops Court Case, Leaving Catholic School Board Without Chance For Vindication Lifesitenews.com June 29, 2005
- Grace, André P.; Wells, Kristopher, The Marc Hall Prom Predicament: Queer Individual Rights v. Institutional Church Rights in Canadian Public Education (PDF), University of Alberta