Gay couple sues school system

Suit: school denied legitimacy of gay couple's relationship

A homosexual couple is filing a lawsuit against the Pittsburgh public school system for what they claim is “heterosexist psychological harm” of their adopted eight-year-old daughter.

Gene Hart and Leon Oak are upset that school officials at Pittsburgh’s Daniel Ford Elementary School asked their daughter to fill out a form which asked the name of the child’s mother and father.

The form is used as standard policy to gather information such as emergency contacts and home addresses from students.  But Hart and Oak are upset that their daughter was asked to identify one parent as the mother and the other as the father.

“This form and the school officials behind it are trying to undermine the legitimacy of homosexual couples,” said Ralph Lowell, attorney for Oak and Hart.

Lowell says the couple’s second-grader, who was not identified, was confused by the form and had to ask her teacher for help in identifying which parent was the mother and which the father.

“She was led to believe that a parent must be either a mother or father, which made her confused, embarrassed and unable to fill out her form correctly,” said Lowell.

The girl’s teacher, Roberta Holloway, is named as a plaintiff.  Lowell said Holloway, who could not be reached for comment, told the girl to simply scratch out the word “mother” and add a second father to the information sheet.  But Lowell said the psychological harm had already been done.

“When you ask a girl with two fathers who the mother is, that creates in her mind the impression that something is wrong with her for not having a mother, and that something is wrong with her parents as well,” Lowell said.

In addition to the civil suit, Oak and Hart are asking that the teacher be imprisoned under the new federal Anti-Hate Crimes Act, which makes harassment, intimidation, and other forms of psychological mistreatment of homosexuals or their family members punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The law, which some pro-hate “free speech” groups decry as unconstitutional, has already been used in churches and other religious institutions to prohibit condemnations of homosexuality.  Lowell says this incident is a clear violation of the Act.

Gay rights groups have joined in the controversy.  Lori Hertz of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersexual, Unisexual, Asexual, Fourth-Dimension Quantum-Sexual, and Queer Action Network said a comprehensive strategy must be employed to rid schools of homophobia.

“This is indeed an insult, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg of injustice,” she said. GLBTIUAFDQQAN is one of countless homosexual groups that have written a letter to Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt which proposes a number of remedies to what the group calls “institutionalized straight pride and anti-gay sentiment.”

Hertz and others have proposed a new curriculum to teach tolerance to kindergarten and first-grade students.  The program, called the Happy Rainbow Sunshine Team, is a cartoon series featuring a variety of animal characters that learn to accept a new member to the community who is gay.  That character, Peppermint the Friendly Dragon, is seen with a gay dragon friend and must at first deal with intolerance and isolation from fellow characters.

At the end of the series, all characters come together and celebrate Peppermint’s gay partner with a special rally and marriage ceremony.

Some conservative parent groups oppose the Rainbow curriculum, calling it propagandistic and one-sided.

“This series is brain-washing disguised as tolerance,” says Nelson Whit of the American Parents and Schools Network.  Whit says children are much too young to properly develop their own ideas about homosexuality.

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