Six Maryland parents of different religious backgrounds are suing the Montgomery County Board of Education for forcing their children to read LGBTQ “pride” books without parental knowledge or consent.
The federal lawsuit comes after the school board in the affluent Maryland county created a list of 13 newly approved “LGBTQ-inclusive” books and informed parents that they no longer would be allowed to opt their children out of the curriculum.
The lawsuit filed by three couples, which names individual school board members as well as Superintendent Monifa McKnight, argues that this action violated both a board policy and a state law requiring school boards to inform parents of any material related to “sexuality” and allow them to “withdraw the child from the course or lesson.”
The Maryland law specifically states that parents have the right “to object to instructional material and other materials, … if the objection is based on beliefs regarding morality, religion, philosophy, any fundamental value system deemed important by a parent, or the belief that the materials are harmful.”
Becket, a law firm devoted to defending religious freedom for all faiths, is representing the six Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant parents in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
The Montgomery County Board of Education, which oversees the public school system in a jurisdiction adjacent to the nation’s capital, has chosen to ignore the law and force parents’ compliance, but these parents won’t back down, Becket said in a press release.
Becket said the school board, “after mandating new books that advocate pride parades, gender transitioning, and pronoun preferences for kids, … announced it would no longer follow the law: parental notice will not be provided, and opt-outs will not be tolerated.”
In the suit, the legal organization repeatedly calls the books on Montgomery County’s list “Pride Storybooks.”
The parents “are united in the conviction that the Pride Storybooks are age inappropriate and inconsistent with their religious beliefs and practices and their child-raising philosophies,” their court complaint reads.
Both the lawsuit and Becket’s press release include some details and cite agendas in the LGBTQ books.
“Love, Violet,” aimed at kindergarteners through fifth graders, gives romantic details about girls falling in love with other girls and not knowing how to express it.
“Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope,” designed for the same ages, tells students that girls can decide to be boys because “students are the best ‘teacher’ on such matters, not parents or other adults,” the complaint says.
The complaint also cites “Pride Puppy,” a book designed for prekindergarteners, usually considered ages 3 to 5.
According to the lawsuit, the book asks children to find an intersex flag, a drag king and drag queen, “leather,” “underwear,” and an image of “a celebrated LGBTQ activist and sex worker,” Marsha P. Johnson.
Becket’s lawsuit on behalf of parents also says that approved books pressure boys and girls who are entering grades six through eight to be public about their secret “crushes” for the same sex.
“The Best at It” is one such book, according to the suit, and also encourages the reader to “live your truth.”
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