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Lesbian Couple Claim Their Son Was Forced to Watch Antigay Sermons at School

Lesbian Couple Claim Their Son Was Forced to Watch Antigay Sermons at School

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Their son was allegedly told these meetings were required in order for him to play basketball. Now they're suing. 

A lesbian couple in Knox County, Tenn., are suing a gym teacher who they say required their son to attend antigay sermons in order to participate in his basketball program at West Valley Middle School.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, the women, identified only as K.K. and K.K., allege that Chuck Comer, the school's physical education and wellness teacher, used the basketball program as a way to promote meetings for Teens for Christ, a nonprofit organization that aims to reach young people who don't attend church and shape them into committed followers of Jesus.

The women claim these 30-minute meetings, held twice a week, were mandatory for any student who wanted to play basketball. In those meetings, the suit says, Comer would read and interpret the Bible, which included passages calling LGBTQ people "sinners."

The lawsuit argues that Comer's meetings violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

"Once Comer lured the students into participating in Defendants' school-sponsored basketball program, it was revealed that, in order to actually participate in such program, the students would be forced participate in the 'Teens for Christ' program," the lawsuit states.

The complaint continues, "More specifically, for each instance of participation by students in Defendants' school-sponsored basketball program (which occurs/occurred on Tuesdays and Thursdays), the students were required to be present early in the morning before school at a lecture hall to listen to Comer read from and interpret the Bible for approximately 30 minutes. ... Even more disturbingly, during his preaching sessions, Comer singled out LGBT 'issues' and its relations to 'sin.'"

Though Knox County Schools spokeswoman Carly Harrington told local TV station WBIR that the school system can't comment on pending litigation, she did dispute the couple's claim, stating that attending Bible study was not a prerequisite for those interested in playing basketball "at West Valley Middle School or any other Knox County school."

The couple is now seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

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