U.S. court upholds same-sex teaching to children

BOSTON Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:20am EST

Demonstrators wave flags in support of gay marriage in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts, in this July 12, 2006 file photo. A federal judge in Boston has dismissed a suit by two families who wanted to stop a Massachusetts town and its public school system from teaching their children about gay marriage, court documents show. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi/Files

Demonstrators wave flags in support of gay marriage in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts, in this July 12, 2006 file photo. A federal judge in Boston has dismissed a suit by two families who wanted to stop a Massachusetts town and its public school system from teaching their children about gay marriage, court documents show.

Credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi/Files

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BOSTON (Reuters) - A federal judge in Boston has dismissed a suit by two families who wanted to stop a Massachusetts town and its public school system from teaching their children about gay marriage, court documents show.

The families last year filed the suit asserting that the reading of a gay-themed book and handing out to elementary school students of other children's books that discussed homosexuality without first notifying parents was a violation of their religious rights.

Federal Judge Mark Wolf ruled on Friday that public schools are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy."

"Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation," he said.

He said the courts had decided in other cases that parents' rights to exercise their religious beliefs were not violated when their children were exposed to contrary ideas in school.

The complaint filed against the town of Lexington, about 12 miles west of Boston, had said the school had "begun a process of intentionally indoctrinating very young children to affirm the notion that homosexuality is right and normal in direct denigration of the plaintiffs' deeply held faith."

The book that sparked the case was "King & King" which tells the story of a crown prince who rejects a bevy of beautiful princesses, rebuffing each suitor until falling in love with a prince. The two marry, sealing the union with a kiss, and live happily ever after.

The Lexington school system had said reading the book was not intended as sex education but as a way to educate children about the world in which they live, especially in Massachusetts, the only U.S. state where gays and lesbians can legally wed.

A lawyer for the families said they would appeal the ruling, the Boston Globe reported on Saturday.

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