Father-daughter dances, currently banned in Cranston, Rhode Island after the ACLU  and a single mother threatened to sue under the state anti-discrimination law, are one step closer to reinstatement.

The Rhode Island Senate has approved language amending the law to allow single-sex events if comparable events are provided for the other sex, via ProJo:

The Senate on Thursday approved a bill aimed at removing potential legal barriers to gender-specific activities — such as father-daughter dances — in Rhode Island’s public schools.

The vote was 33 to 3.

The measure was prompted by an uproar in Cranston last year after the School Committee canceled a father-daughter dance in the face of a civil-rights challenge by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The bill now headed to the House would allow a school to “provide extracurricular activities for students of one sex, including… father-daughter/mother-son activities,” as long as “opportunities for reasonably comparable activities” are provided students of the other sex.”

RI Senate Bill Father Daughter dances

The ACLU issued the following statement, per ProJo:

“We are very disappointed by the Senate’s vote today,” said ACLU executive director Steven Brown. “By allowing schools to segregate by sex any extra-curricular activity — whether it’s the chess club, debate team, or science club — the state is taking a giant leap backward in encouraging the reemergence of stereotypes about the abilities and interests of girls and boys.”

So expect schools to offer Mother-Son Dances (which I’m guessing will be sparsely attended).

The unanswered question is whether under the statute Cranston and other schools also need to have Father-Son and Mother-Daughter Dances.