TAVARES, FLORIDA — The authors of a book celebrating homosexual relationships through the story of two male penguins are suing a school district that chose to limit its availability to older students. Parents with children in Lake County Schools also joined the book authors in filing the lawsuit.
In December, Lake County Schools decided that only students in Grades 4 and higher could read And Tango Makes Three.
The book was published in 2005 and marketed to children. The plot was inspired by two real penguins named Roy and Silo in the Central Park Zoo who performed mating rituals near one another in 1998.
After Silo sat on a small rock as if he were a female sitting on an egg, the zookeepers swapped out the stone with a real egg from another female penguin at the zoo. That egg eventually hatched and the zookeepers named the baby penguin “Tango.”
Book authors Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell – a gay couple raising their adopted daughter together in New York – decided to write And Tango Makes Three about the incident.
The cover of the book states “All kinds of love can make a family” and the lawsuit itself acknowledges that the book expresses the viewpoint that “same-sex relationships and families … can be happy, healthy, and loving.”
The plaintiffs assert that Tango was “restricted for illegitimate, narrowly partisan and political reasons,” specifically its “message of inclusion and tolerance.”
Additionally, they claim that placing an age-restriction on the book “infringes students’ right to receive information.” Yet no evidence is presented to demonstrate that the district or state has prevented the students from obtaining or reading the book.
The defendants include the Lake County School Board, Superintendent Diane Kornegay, Education Commissioner Manny Díaz, Jr. and Board of Education members Ben Gibson, Ryan Petty, Monesia Brown, Esther Byrd, Grazie P. Christie, Kelly Garcia and MaryLynn Magar.
Florida has become a lightning rod for LGBTQ fury in recent years because the state has prohibited teachers from talking to young children about sexualized topics.
Last month, publishing giant Penguin Random House and freedom of speech foundation PEN America filed a similar lawsuit against Escambia County School District and School Board for removing books that push radical views on race, gender and sexuality.
DO KIDS REALLY NEED A MOM AND A DAD?
While LGBTQ activists routinely cite studies concluding there is no fundamental difference between same-sex and opposite-sex parents, the researchers often rely on surveys filled out voluntarily by parents on behalf of their children.
Fewer studies sample adults who were raised by homosexual couples. The ones that have been done, however, reveal significant differences in the two concepts of family.
In 2014, the British Journal of Education published a study comparing outcomes between children raised in the traditional family environment with a mother and father with those raised by a same-sex couples. It remains the largest study on the topic to date.
Researchers looked at a representative sample of 207,007 children, including 512 with same-sex parents pulled from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey. They found that emotional problems were twice as prevalent for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents.
Additionally, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health from 2018 found that children raised by same-sex parents were twice as likely to experience depression, consider suicide and become obese as an adult.