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Justices won't hear challenge to schools' lessons on gay families

By The Associated Press

BOSTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal filed by two Massachusetts couples who objected to same-sex families being discussed in their children's elementary school classrooms.

The Lexington families claimed gay-themed books on a public school's reading list violated their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. The books were not required reading.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals had previously dismissed the lawsuit brought by David and Tonia Parker, saying the inclusion of books that included gay people or relationships did not violate the parents' First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

The Parkers filed suit in 2006 after their son brought home a book from kindergarten that depicted different kinds of families, including a gay family. Another couple, Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, joined the suit after a second-grade teacher read to the class, King and King, a fairy tale that tells the story of two princes falling in love.

Both couples said they have religious beliefs that homosexuality is immoral and that marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman. They argued that Lexington school officials violated their parental rights to teach their own morals to their children.

Jeffrey Denner, an attorney for the couples, told The Boston Globe that the couples were still weighing their options. The Parkers said they were home schooling their children.

The case is Parker v. Hurley.

1st Circuit backs schools' lessons on gay families
Panel finds Lexington, Mass., parents' rights to exercise their religious beliefs aren't violated when their children are exposed to contrary ideas in school. 02.01.08


Sexual orientation and public schools: all or nothing?

By Charles C. Haynes Administrators, parents can work past cultural standoff toward schools that are both safe and free for all students. 02.17.08

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