On May 5 United States District Court Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. issued a temporary restraining order against the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education, prohibiting it from implementing the recently adopted controversial health education curriculum. Liberty Counsel had filed suit on Tuesday, May 3, 2005, on behalf of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays).
The curriculum, which was scheduled to be tested in six schools starting May 6, 2005, crossed the line from education to indoctrination. The curriculum, with approved teacher resources used to create lesson plans, contains factually inaccurate information concerning the health risks associated with same-sex sexual contact, espouses a theological viewpoint that was “gay-friendly”, and discriminates against ex-gays and those who believe people can overcome same-sex attractions. The curriculum presents statistics concerning condom use that are flatly contradicted by the U.S. government, including the District’s failure to inform students that condoms are only 87% effective in preventing transmission of HIV in male-female contact, and may be 0% effective against human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. Nor does the curriculum explain the substantial and unique health risks associated with same-sex sexual conduct. The curriculum also ventured into the realm of religion, explaining what Jesus allegedly did and did not say about homosexuality, portraying evangelicals as intolerant and prejudiced, and referring readers to gay-friendly religious organizations.
On the other hand, even though the District has a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and requiring objective, factual presentation on controversial subjects, all materials submitted for inclusion in the curriculum by PFOX were squarely rejected because they presented the ex-gay perspective. The School District defended the curriculum, arguing it had the right to pick a side on this controversial subject and suppress opposing viewpoints.
According to the Liberty Counsel, “In allegiance to the agenda of homosexual advocacy organizations, the school board was willing to convey a message that carries substantial physical and mental health consequences. Given the epidemic levels of sexually transmitted diseases, the District was essentially playing Russian roulette with the lives of the students entrusted to them. The curriculum also is full of information that is biased, inaccurate, and unashamedly hostile to Christian beliefs. The Judge’s order is a huge victory for parents and students. The ruling by the Judge blocking this radical, pro-homosexual, one-sided curriculum sends a message to every school that they must not trample the rights of parents nor may they use our children as human experiments.”
Mathew Staver is president and general counsel for the Liberty Counsel.