In the face of a federal lawsuit, Maryland's largest school district Montgomery County has decided to scrap portions of its controversial sex-education program. The curriculum came under fire for implying that homosexuality is a biological trait and for showing, on a video, how to put on a condom, using a cucumber.
The decision comes weeks after Florida-based Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of two parent groups that said the course did not do enough to stress abstinence or give opposing views on homosexuality. The plaintiffs charged that the curriculum highlighted the views of churches that condone homosexuality while dismissing the views of more traditional churches.
Liberty Counsel president, Mat Staver, says he will ask for additional representation on the district's curriculum committee, the objective being to encourage more input from the community and from other groups into another kind of curriculum, if and when one is implemented. He promises the process will be closely watched.
“[W]e will carefully monitor the implementation of any curriculum next year, because, if it has any resemblance to the current curriculum that was ruled by the court to be in violation of the Constitution, we will be back in court again,” he warns.
The scenario, says Staver, sends a message that is “loud and clear” to every school board in America “that whenever they deal with sex education and particularly when the sex education includes homosexuality they must respect the rights that are constitutionally guaranteed to students and parents.”
The attorney continues, explaining that districts “must not present a controversial viewpoint from only one perspective … must not trample and denigrate religion … must give objective information [and] … must not advocate a particular position [such as one stating] that homosexuality is [as] normal as being left-handed.”
The school system had planned to launch the program for eighth- and tenth-graders earlier this month, but those plans were suspended after a judge issued a temporary restraining order. That judge agreed with the two groups that the curriculum's discussion of homosexuality amounted to preference of one religion over the other because it backed the views of faiths that are tolerant of homosexuality over those that reject it. (See earlier story)