- A court order prevents Maryland parents from opting their children out of gender and sexual education.
- Parents, scholars, states, and religious organizations are fighting the decision.
- Parents are urging the Fourth United States Appeals Circuit to overrule the decision.
As students returned to school last week, Muslim and Christian parents in Maryland are fully prepared to fight a court order preventing them from opting their children out of controversial gender and sexual education in public schools.
The effort by parents, scholars, states, and religious organizations followed a district court’s decision that forces students in Montgomery County, Maryland, to participate in the curriculum.
Now, parents are urging the riders of the Fourth United States Appeals Circuit to overrule the decision, the New York Sun reported.
“We intend to fight as long as we need to protect our parents’ rights and the rights of children to have the guidance of their parents,” says the senior counsel, Eric Baxter, at the non-profit law firm representing the parents, Becket, which specializes in religious freedom cases.
“There are a lot of school districts around the country that are pushing these types of issues and trying to marginalize parents, and I don’t think parents are going to stand for that,” Baxter tells the Sun, adding that he is prepared to take the lawsuit to the Supreme Court.
In its memorandum, the court said the instructional materials in question further the Montgomery County Board of Education’s interest “in providing a safe and supportive learning environment for its students, protecting LGBTQ students’ health and safety, and complying with anti-discrimination laws.”
The school board also claimed that the storybooks are “not even indirect coercion” and “not at all a burden” to students reading them.
Yet, one book featured in the schools’ curriculum, called “Born Ready,” instructs students that doctors only “guess about our gender,” but “we know ourselves best.” Another called “What Are Your Words?” teaches that pronouns are “like the weather. They change depending on how I feel.”
The Ethics and Public Policy Center filed a brief in support of the parents, arguing that the school board is infringing upon students’ First Amendment rights.
“We send our children to learn math, science, and history,” the director of a faith-based parent action committee fighting the new curriculum, Family Rights for Religious Freedoms, Wael Elkoshairi, asserts.
“We do not want our children being taught things that we feel are related to family life and sexuality, specifically at this age.”
Baxter is optimistic that the Montgomery County parents will prevail in the case.
“The legal arguments weigh heavily in our favor,” he says. “There’s a long tradition in American history of allowing parents to control the upbringing of their children.”
In Islam, Christianity, and all divine religions, same-sex relationships and marriage are totally prohibited.
Regarding the position of Islam,
Allah says in the Qur’an, “O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may get to know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Qur’an 49:13)