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US appeals court affirms dismissal of lawsuit over same-sex marriage teaching

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Thursday upheld [PDF text] a district court's dismissal [order, PDF; JURIST report] of a lawsuit against a Massachusetts town that allows its public school system to teach children about same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The appeals court held that "Public schools are not obliged to shield individual students from ideas which potentially are religiously offensive," pointing out that the students were not required to agree with those ideas or participate in discussions about them.

Two families of elementary school students filed the lawsuit [plaintiffs' materials] in 2006 to stop the school from reading homosexual-themed books to their children without first notifying parents, arguing that the school's actions violated their right to free exercise of religion. The district court granted a motion to dismiss the case for failure to state a federal constitutional claim upon which relief could be granted. Currently, Massachusetts is the only state to allow full same-sex marriage, which was legalized when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled [JURIST report] in 2003 that a ban on such marriages was unconstitutional. AP has more.

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