A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit from Massachusetts parents seeking to prevent the discussion of homosexual families in their children’s elementary school classrooms, WorldNetDaily reports.
In spring of 2005 the 5-year-old son of David and Tonia Parker brought home a book to be shared with his parents titled “Who’s in a Family?” Optional reading material in a “Diversity Book Bag” depicted at least two households headed by homosexual partners.
The Parkers filed suit against the Lexington School District in 2006, later being joined by Joseph and Robin Wirthlin whose second-grader’s class was read a story about two princes who become lovers, ‘King and King’.
In 2006 U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf dismissed the parents’ civil rights lawsuit, saying there is an obligation for public schools to teach young children about homosexuality.
The First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday affirmed Judge Wolf’s decision.
"Public schools," Judge Sandra L. Lynch wrote in her opinion, "are not obliged to shield individual students from ideas which potentially are religiously offensive, particularly when the school imposes no requirement that the student agree with or affirm those ideas, or even participate in discussions about them."
The court’s opinion said that the Parker child was never required to read the books or have them read to them. The court said the books do not endorse gay marriage or homosexuality, but merely describe how other children might come from different families. “There is no free exercise right to be free from any reference in public elementary schools to the existence of families in which the parents are of different gender combinations,” the ruling said.
The First Circuit panel said the Wirthlin’s son “has a more significant claim” because he was required to sit through a reading of ‘King and King,’ a book that affirmatively endorses homosexuality and gay marriage.
The judges nonetheless rejected the Wirthlins’ claim, writing, "There is no evidence of systemic indoctrination. There is no allegation that Joey was asked to affirm gay marriage. Requiring a student to read a particular book is generally not coercive of free exercise rights."
According to WorldNetDaily, David Parker said the ruling "will surely embolden and enable the schools even more on this if it's not fought."
"There's going to be an accountability, you can count on it," he said.
The Parkers’ lead attorney, Jeffrey Denner, said they were prepared to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. "We will continue to fight on all the fronts that we need to," he said.
MassResistance, a citizen’s group supporting the Parkers, said Judge Lynch’s decision, ignored their lawyer’s argument that "that the basic constitutional protections of religious belief are being trampled on by the school." It also criticized the decision for citing a state curriculum’s “non-mandatory, informal set of guidelines” in its reasoning. MassResistance also warned that Planned Parenthood is promoting a bill to make the document a formal legal guideline.