Teaching tolerance to children when Father's Day is Fathers' Day

Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:55pm EDT
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By Barbara Goldberg

LAMBERTVILLE N.J. (Reuters) - The first-grader at Lambertville Public School grinned as he posed for a photo wearing an enormous pair of men's wingtips to make a Father's Day card that said, "Nobody fills your shoes."

Then he raised his arms in a goofy pose for a second card - this one for his other father.

The boy, whose fathers asked that his name not be used because of his tender age, is one of some 125,000 U.S. children being raised by same-sex couples, according to demographer Gary Gates at UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute.

That number, which has risen by 25 percent between 2000 and 2010, the latest figures available, is expected to climb as the marriage equality movement gathers momentum, with gay nuptials now legal in 20 states.

    The changing American family means changes in the ways schools mark, or opt to skip, holidays such as Mother's Day and Father's Day.

Gay and civil rights groups offer teachers tips - from ignoring the holidays altogether to using them to teach lessons about diverse families.

   "Feeling welcome is conducive to learning. This isn't about putting a rainbow flag outside," said Ellen Kahn, spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian and transgender people and families.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, takes a different view. He says using holidays to teach children about diverse families brings sexuality into the classroom and undermines the wishes of parents who do not want their children taught about same-sex marriage in school.   Continued...

A first grader at Lambertville Public School creates two Father's Day cards for his two dads in Lambertville, New Jersey in this June 12, 2014. REUTERS/Rebecca Doser/Handout via Reuters