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Back to June Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 233 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JUNE 2005

Court Halts Maryland Pro-Gay Curriculum
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Parents succeeded in halting implementation of a controversial sex-education curriculum in Montgomery County, MD when a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the county school district in early May. The judge's order prompted the school board to completely scrap the program, which was to have started on May 6. Observers cannot remember any other case in the last 30 years in which a judge sided with parents against a sex-education curriculum adopted by a school board.

Stating that the curriculum imperils parents' and children's First Amendment and Establishment Clause rights, Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. found that the curriculum "presents only one view on the subject — that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle — to the exclusion of other perspectives." Moreover, the program attempts to portray some churches' views as theologically sound and others as unsound, he concluded.

The curriculum includes such statements as "Myth: Homosexuality is a sin. Facts: The Bible contains six passages which condemn homosexual behavior. The Bible also contains numerous passages condemning heterosexual behavior."


Course hits 'church homophobia' 
"Fortunately," the curriculum continues, "many within organized religions are beginning to address the homophobia of the church. The Nation [sic] Council of Churches of Christ, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Society of Friends (Quakers), and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches support full civil rights for gay men and lesbians, as they do for everyone else." It endorses the position of the Anglican Church of Canada and compares Baptist churches' opposition to homosexuality to their earlier defenses of racial segregation.

The Clinton-appointed judge, who happens to hold a divinity degree, wrote that "The public interest is served by preventing [the school officials] from promoting particular religious beliefs in the public schools and preventing [officials] from disseminating one-sided information on a controversial topic." Quoting Justice Felix Frankfurter, he noted that "the public school must keep scrupulously free from entanglement in the strife of sects."

In addition to promoting homosexual lifestyles, the curriculum teaches children that "morality is a more subjective issue" and that people "form a variety of [sexual] relationships lasting from one night to many years." A video designed for 10th-graders shows a girl putting a condom on a cucumber. No mention is made of diseases associated with homosexual behavior.

Since the school board unanimously approved the curriculum last November, parental protests have grown louder. (See Education Reporter, Jan. 2005.) Catholic parishes launched a petition drive with the encouragement of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC.

In March, the school system announced that three high schools and three middle schools would participate in a pilot program for the course, which was developed with the input of a citizens' advisory committee in the liberal-leaning county. The school board refused to meet with one of the plaintiffs, Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, even after it presented more than 4,000 signatures in April opposing the course. Suit was filed May 3 with the aid of the public-interest law firm Liberty Counsel.

"This shows that parents, even in a very liberal area, can fight back and win," commented Robert Knight, director of the Culture & Family Institute. (foxnews.com, 5-9-05)


 
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