Chitose Suzuki  /  AP
Tonia and David Parker leave after a court hearing in Boston on Feb. 7. They are one of two couples who filed a lawsuit to stop teaching about gay marriage in public school. The suit was dismissed by a judge Friday.
updated 2/23/2007 8:00:01 PM ET 2007-02-24T01:00:01

A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit filed by parents who wanted to keep their young children from learning about gay marriage in school.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf said federal courts have decided in other cases that parents' rights to exercise their religious beliefs are not violated when their children are exposed to contrary ideas in school.

Schools are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens," Wolf said in his ruling.

Tonia and David Parker of Lexington sued after their 5-year-old son brought home a book from kindergarten that depicted a gay family. Another Lexington couple joined the suit after a second-grade teacher read the class a fairy tale about two princes falling in love.

Both couples claimed Lexington school officials violated their parental rights to teach their own morals to their children. They said they wanted to be notified before gay couples were discussed so they could remove their children from classrooms.

Wolf dismissed both federal and state claims made in the lawsuit but said the parents could refile the lawsuit in state court.

Attorney Jeffrey Denner said the parents would file a federal appeal and refile the state-court claims.

David Parker said school administrators violated a state law requiring that parents get an opportunity to exempt their children from any curriculum that "primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality."

But school attorney John Davis said the books did not focus on sex education, but merely depicted various families, including same-sex families.

The case attracted attention in part because Massachusetts is the only state that allows same-sex marriage.

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