(LifeSiteNews) — A large coalition of attorneys general signed onto an amicus brief opposing a lawsuit from religious parents who are seeking the right to shield their children from indoctrination into radical LGBT ideology in the classroom.
Nineteen attorneys general representing a bevy of left-wing states including California, Oregon, and New York as well as the District of Columbia filed their brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on October 31, The Center Square reported.
The brief is in response to a lawsuit brought against Maryland’s Montgomery County Board of Education by three families seeking to opt their children out of LGBT books for religious reasons, the outlet reported. The religiously diverse group of parents are Catholic, Ukrainian Orthodox, and Muslim.
In the 31-page filing, the AGs claim “it is essential that states provide students with a safe and inclusive educational environment that allows them to succeed and thrive,” and that “[a]llowing students to see diverse perspectives and ways of life reflected in the curriculum is an important part of establishing this well-being and attaining educational objectives for all students.”
“The County’s use of books featuring LGBTQ+ characters in its language arts curriculum is … an effort to underscore for all students that LGBTQ+ people exist and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” the attorneys general argued.
Books incorporated into the curriculum for the 2023-2024 school year include “Prince and Knight,” a fairytale about a male knight and a prince who fall in “love” and get “married,” one entitled “Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History,” and the pro-transgender story “Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope.”
While the district initially allowed parents to opt their children out of the reading materials, they reversed their decision in March, mandating the curricula for all children.
In a statement, the district said it “expects all classrooms to be inclusive and safe spaces for students, including those who identify as LGBTQ+ or have family members in the LGBTQ+ community … ”
“There is an expectation that teachers utilize these inclusive lessons and texts with all students,” the district said in March.
The group of parents responded with a lawsuit, Mahmoud v. McKnight, in which they argued that they should have the ability to opt their children out of engaging with the reading material because it violated their religious beliefs. A federal judge rejected the lawsuit in August, denying parents’ claims that the LGBT content would indoctrinate children into beliefs at odds with those professed by their families.
The families accordingly filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Though 19 attorneys general have sided with the board of education and against the parents, they are outnumbered by 23 AGs who back the parents’ right to shield their children from being inculturated into an LGBT agenda.
Virginia Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares is leading the pro-parent coalition.
“Parents everywhere have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children,” he said, according to The Roanoke Star. “A School Board cannot unilaterally decide to ignore both federal and state law, replacing parents as the decision maker in their children’s lives.”
“No parent wakes up wanting to co-parent with the government,” Miyares said.
In addition to California, Oregon, and New York, the other states represented in the amicus brief opposing the parents are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, in addition to Virginia, the coalition of states that back the parents are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.