On Tuesday February 20, 2007 we saw that the Clerk Magistrate of Worcester found just cause to move forward with both assault & battery, and civil rights violations charges filed against Larry Cirignano. Cirignano used to be the head of the Catholic Citizenship Groups founded here in Boston by our own Ambassador Ray Flynn. Cirignano has resigned his post since being accused on this matter. Here is the article in full as reported first in BayWindows:
Issue Date: 2/15/2007, Posted On: 2/20/2007
- Breaking News -
Photo: Marilyn Humphries
A clerk magistrate found probable cause to charge former Catholic Citizenship executive director Larry Cirignano with misdemeanor assault and battery and civil rights violations at a Feb. 20 hearing at Worcester District Court. The charges stem from an altercation at a Dec. 16 rally at Worcester City Hall held by VoteOnMarriage.org during which Cirignano, a speaker at the rally, allegedly shoved to the ground Sarah Loy, a same-sex marriage supporter who was protesting the rally.
Following the hearing, which was not open to the public or the press, Cirignano confirmed to Bay Windows that the magistrate had found probable cause on both charges, but he declined to comment further.
Loy, who testified at the hearing, said, “I’m glad to know that the city of Worcester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts take the issue of free speech seriously.” She said she was told at the hearing that when the case goes to trial she will be called as a witness, but she said she was unsure when a trial might begin.
Tim Connolly, a spokesperson for the Worcester County District Attorney's office, said Cirignano will be arraigned in Worcester District Court April 11.
As executive director of Catholic Citizenship, Cirignano was one of the key partners in the VoteOnMarriage.org coalition working to pass an amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In the fall of 2005, when VoteOnMarriage.org carried out a campaign to gather signatures to send the amendment to the legislature, Cirignano coordinated the signature collection campaign in the state’s Catholic churches. He also worked as a consultant for the Massachusetts Independent PAC for Working Families (MIPAC/WF), providing funding and support to state legislative candidates who support the marriage amendment.
Last month Cirignano announced he had stepped down as executive director of Catholic Citizenship to head a newly formed Catholic “pro-life [and] pro-family” organization based in Washington, D.C. He declined to give Bay Windows the name or further information about the organization, saying that a public announcement of the organization’s launch will likely come next month.
A second blow to the camps hell bent on the demonization of the gay community came in the from a Federal law suit. Now we see that all the pomp and circumstance pumped into the David Parker law suit could not breathe life into the beast they were trying to make this out to be. What the haters wanted was to get people afraid. What they didn't count on is that most people are already active enough in their kids schools to know and approve of their teachings. The idea of teaching the Two Princes was not to undermine one person's set of values, but rather to share an understanding that all life, whatever the form is sacred. These children will grow up and will one day come in contact with people who are different than they. They must be properly educated on how to conduct themselves when this happens. By helping children understand these differences exist at an early developmental age, we help them have a better ability to succeed in life. This type of teaching also lowers the risk of violence against gays.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Judge dismisses Lexington suit over school lesson involving same-sex couples
By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff
A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit by two Lexington couples who claimed the local public school district violated their constitutional rights by teaching their young children about different types of families, including those headed by same-sex couples.
Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf of the US District Court said that under the Constitution, public schools are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy. Diversity is a hallmark of our nation.''
In a 38-page decision, Wolf said the two couples -- David and Tonia Parker, and Robert and Robin Wirthlin -- have the option of sending their children to private schools or home-schooling them. He also said the couples can ask the school district to excuse their children when classroom discussions touch on issues of homosexuality.
But they have no right to prescribe what the school district teaches, he said, citing precedent-setting federal court rulings.
"As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his journal, 'I pay the school master, but 'tis the school boys that educate my son,'" Wolf wrote.
The couples filed their suit in 2006 after Jacob Parker, then in kindergarten, brought home a book depicting different families, including a same-sex couple. Joey Wirthlin, then in first grade, was read a book featuring a prince who married another prince.
Moments after he heard about today's ruling, David Parker said, "We will continue to move forward, as we always have, with patience and tolerance in these matters." He declined to elaborate.
Sarah Wunsch, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts, which filed a friend of the court briefing siding with the school district, praised Wolf's ruling.
"I think it's a terrific opinion," she said. "A parent can't control what's taught in the public schools based on their own personal religious views. So it keeps public education alive, really."