Davis School District sued over same-sex parenting book flap

Posted at 7:13 PM, Nov 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-14 12:33:39-05

KAYSVILLE, Utah - "In Our Mothers' House" was put behind elementary school library desks after a group of parents signed a petition demanding it be pulled from shelves. The ACLU of Utah is now taking one mother's fight to federal court.

Elementary kids in Davis Schools can still read the book as long as they get their parent's permission, but the American Civil Liberties Union says restricting access to educational materials is a violation of the first amendment.

"Parents are in the driver's seat; they can decide what books they want their children to read," says Chris Williams, the Davis County School District Spokesperson.

"I thought it was a win-win situation to put the book in a place available to any parent when they need it and not just some random check-out with a kindergartner " said Rebecca Taylor, who was one of 25 parents that signed a petition last spring asking the district to put the book behind library shelves.

"When we first heard about this story, we called the school district to see if we could convince them without a lawsuit to change their minds and put the book back on the shelves," says John Mejia, the Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah.

The district didn't change its mind so the ACLU of Utah is suing on behalf of a mother and her two kids.

"Her name is Tina Weber. She lives in Kaysville, Utah, and she's just a mom who thinks the book needs to be put back on the shelves," says Mejia.

Tina Weber is a mother whose children have a father in the household.

"For a school system or a parent to drive the choices that are available in libraries seems like us going backwards," says Valerie Larabee, with the Utah Pride Center.

However, not everyone is on the same page.

"I actually do not believe that that book should be in the school library," says Gayle Ruzicka, a conservative political activist with Utah's Eagle Forum.

Ruzicka says "In Our Mothers' House" violates the state's sexual education statute, which prohibits advocating homosexuality, something she believes the book does.

"If you have a book like that in the school you're teaching children that homosexuality is acceptable and that's for parents to decide," Ruzicka says.

The ACLU of Utah filed its lawsuit in federal court Tuesday morning. The Davis County School District still has to respond. They have the option of filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit which would test the legal sufficiency of the complaint.

Related stories:
School district restricts access to book about same-sex marriage
ACLU raises concerns about Davis School District’s book restrictions
LGBT families protest decision to yank book from library shelves