Press Release

Religious parents head to court to fight sex and gender storybook mandate Muslims & Christians in Maryland ask to opt kids out of age-inappropriate storybooks

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON – A diverse group of religious parents in Montgomery County, Maryland, will be in federal court next week fighting for their ability to opt their children out of storybooks that push extreme ideology regarding gender and sexuality. In Mahmoud v. McKnight, the Montgomery County Board of Education took away parental notice and opt-outs for storybooks that advocate pride parades, gender transitioning, and pronoun preferences for kids as young as pre-kindergarten. Becket is helping a group of Muslim, Catholic, and Ethiopian Orthodox parents who want to restore their ability to raise their children consistent with their faith. 

The new “inclusivity” books were announced for pre-K through eighth-grade students last fall. However, instead of focusing on basic principles of respect and kindness, the books champion controversial ideologies around gender and sex and focus on children’s romantic feelings. For example, one book tasks three- and four-year-olds to search for images from a word list that includes “intersex flag,” “drag queen,” “underwear,” “leather,” and the name of a celebrated LGBTQ activist and sex worker. Another book advocates a child-knows-best approach to gender transitioning, telling students that a decision to transition doesn’t have to “make sense”; teachers are instructed to say doctors only “guess” when identifying a newborn’s sex anyway. 

These religious parents believe the storybooks are age-inappropriate, spiritually and emotionally damaging for kids and inconsistent with their faith. The lawsuit seeks to restore their ability to help their own children on such complex and sensitive issues. 

Oral Argument in Mahmoud v. McKnight

Arguing before the court:
Eric Baxter, vice president & senior counsel at Becket

Wednesday, August 9, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. ET

U.S. District Court for Maryland
6500 Cherrywood Lane
Greenbelt, MD 20770  

Before oral argument, there will be a rally at 8 a.m. in the parking lot outside the courthouse hosted by Kids First, an association of parents and teachers interested in preserving the parental right to notice and opt-out in the Montgomery County Public Schools.  

Becket attorneys will be available for comment following the hearing.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby atmedia@becketlaw.orgor 202-349-7219.Interviews can be arranged in English, Mandarin, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.