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Parents File Federal Suit Over Gay Book

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Parents File Federal Suit Over Gay Book

by Michael J. Meade, 365Gay.com Boston Bureau

April 27, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(Boston, Massachusetts) Two Lexington, Massachusetts families filed a federal lawsuit Thursday alleging that their civil rights were violated when a gay-themed book was read to their children in school.

A teacher read the book King and King to second-graders at the Estabrook elementary school earlier this month as part of a lesson about weddings.

Following the reading the teacher noted that same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts and some children have two mommies and others have two daddies.

King and King is aimed at elementary school children and helps teach diversity. The book, by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland, tells the story of Prince Bertie who searches for love through a bevy of eligible princesses before falling for Prince Lee.

Parents David and Tonia Parker and Joseph and Robin Wirthlin say the school is attempting to indoctrinate their children about an "immoral lifestyle".

Their suit, filed in federal court in Boston, says that school officials bypassed their parental rights to raise their children how they wish and in doing so violated their civil rights.

After the book was read to students Robin Wirthlin complained to the school board that her seven-year-old son should not be exposed to discussions of such at such an early age. (story)

School superintendent Paul Ash said that Lexington schools are committed to "teaching children about the world they live in."

Not satisfied the Wirthlins and the Parkers decided to sue.

Boston LGBT rights group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders condemned the lawsuit as an attack on the community’s gay & lesbian families.

“Loving, stable gay and lesbian families send their kids to school all over this state. Those families and kids need to be acknowledged and respected by their teachers and school systems, in order for the kids to have a safe, supportive learning environment,” said Lee Swislow, GLAD’s Executive Director.

“This lawsuit is nothing less than an attempt to intimidate school officials by people who refuse to acknowledge that loving, stable gay families exist, and who wish that their kids didn’t have to go to school with the kids of gay parents,” Swislow said.

Both parents involved in the suit are members of an organization pressing for an amendment to the Massachusetts constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.

Last year Parker was charged with trespassing when he refused to leave the school where he was protesting against a different children's book with gay characters.

Parker became enraged when he discovered his six-year old son had brought home the book "Who's in a Family.' (story)

The book by Robert Skutch, and illustrated by Laura Nienhaus is aimed at children between three and seven. It catalogues a variety of multicultural contemporary family units, including those with single parents, lesbian and gay parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents.

©365Gay.com 2006

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