Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Risible Lexington Suit

The Mad Dad and his backup group the Lexington Looneys have put themselves back on thin ice, very thin ice. Their federal suit demanding control over the public schools' curriculum is a hoot.

His attorneys, who brag about defending child abusers, pornographers and drug dealers on their Website, don't talk about their pro bono efforts. Perhaps they specialize here in anti-gay cases or perhaps only Parker-related windmill tilts.

They had better be good about judge shopping. Their filing is pretty lame. There's a lot of boilerplate in it.

One cute angle is the claim that the school officials "...interfered with and deprived the plaintiffs of their exercise and enjoyment of their civil rights secured under the constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts..." The giggle here is that the school folk didn't threaten with anything and the Mad Dad and his minions have tried to threaten and coerce the teachers, principal and superintendent repeatedly. This lawsuit is the latest attack doing just that.

What hypocrites!

The meat of the matter is more Vienna sausage than steak. They fundamentally come three ways at the schools' not adhering to the Looneys' particular religion. They try to turn that backward by saying, in effect, if you present any facts or reality that does not conform to what we teach at home, you have violated commonwealth and federal law. It is to laugh a judicial laugh.

Basically, by making a picture book available that shows simply that there are same-sex couples with kids the schools "invaded and impaired the plaintiff's clearly established rights to the free exercise of religion." This claim comes in a state which permits same-sex marriage and adoption, and in a town and school system with numerous same-sex-headed families.

The suit also tries -- very weakly -- to twist the opt-out human sexuality law. It claims that "The Town of Lexington has begun a program intended primarily to indoctrinate very young elementary school children in the notion that homosexuality and homosexual relationships and marriage are right and moral." That takes such forms at an early-reader book that has a two princes falling in love, a sweet and decidedly non-sexual fairy tale, and another in an optional diversity packet that has mundane images of gay couples doing household chores with their kids.

The Looneys' suit claims that these fall in the "human sexual education or human sexuality issues" definition of the commonwealth law. You can be damned sure that's a throwaway claim.

The suit finally falls on the filthy bed of conspiracy -- generally nearly impossible to prove. It claims that "the defendants conspired to deprive the plaintiffs of their due process rights and their rights to equal protection of the law or of the equal privileges and immunities under the law, and they acted in furtherance of the conspiracy which resulted in the injury to the plaintiffs as described above..."

(Pause to chuckle.)

So, we have a conspiracy claim that is sure to lose, an effort to rewrite the opt-out law that is sure to lose, and an attempt to turn the First Amendment 180 degrees saying that if you teach anything other than their particular religious beliefs you are preventing them from practicing that religion. Double huh?

This is a worthless suit. If it were clothing, it would dissolve in the first spring shower.

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Anonymous said...

I totally agree that this suit is ridiculous--but I think it's worth pointing out that the claim under the Massachusetts opt-out statute is not a "throwaway" in one sense: i.e., the plaintiffs really believe it.

From their public protestations over the past year-plus, I think it's obvious that the doofuses behind this effort (especially Camenker and Parker) believe very strongly that the phrase "curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues" does include a book that merely mentions families with same-sex parents. And OBVIOUSLY (heh) it includes a picture of two princes (gasp) kissing. For better or worse, these people are heavily emotionally invested in that idea. (It's pretty clear that Camenker, for one, considers that statute his baby.)

The court may, and hopefully will, "throw" that claim "away," but that clearly isn't the plaintiffs' intention.

Meanwhile, the defendants' argument will obviously be that the materials in question merely show the existence of GLBT people. That's not "sexuality issues," nor is it "indoctrination"; it's not even advocacy. And it takes a pathetic person indeed to file a lawsuit saying otherwise.

Time for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, methinks.

- Rieux, Esq.

massmarrier said...

I goofed on moderating -- clicking the wrong button. This comment is from tjc, not me. It has an insightful point:

It is interesting to note in the lawsuit at paragraph 42, the Parkers were perfectly fine w/ spontaneous discussions about "homosexuality, transgenderism, or gay relationships/marriage" UNLESS "the discussion arises with the intent to arrive, validate, celebrate, and/or normalize[.]" Spontaneous discussions are ones that are not part of the curriculum.

So, spontaneous discussions about how evil and depraved the homosexuals are would be okay. Just nothing about the nice gay couple who live down the street, or the ordinariness of gay families on the news, or how someone's lesbian cousin got married last summer (normalizing).

I think this is important and was part of their request to the Superintendent last fall that was denied, so it's not a new stance. I hope readers pick up on this blatant hypocrisy (much of their regular hypocrisy is a little more subtle).

The Parker's are trying to stand on the "parental notification law" to "opt out" of discussions on "human sexuality issues." That they change their stance depending on the "intent" of the discussions should get them laughed out of court.