Judge Dismisses Most Claims in Gay Bias Lawsuit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A judge has dismissed most of the claims in a lawsuit by two women who alleged their daughter’s teacher discriminated against the girl because her parents are gay.

Shannon Peterson and Jessica Bissell sued the Rio Rancho Public Schools district and the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority for failing to stop other children from bullying their daughter and allowing her teacher to discriminate against her because of their sexuality.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that seven of the nine counts in the lawsuit were dismissed by State District Judge Beatrice Brickhouse.

Brickhouse said the women must demonstrate that not only did the teacher violate their rights but that the district has a custom or official policy that caused the violation.

But the judge didn’t dismiss the claim that the district violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act by failing to prevent and stop the discrimination and a claim that the inaction led to the injuries of the fifth-grader at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary during the 2009-10 school year.

The judge’s decision was filed late last month.

The lawsuit alleged that another student pushed the couple’s daughter in February 2010, which resulted in a scrape on her face, a severe nose bleed, loosened front teeth and lacerated lips and gums. The girl’s teacher didn’t take her to the nurse’s office, notify her parents or the school administration, according to the complaint.

The couple alleges that the teacher, when confronted why the parents hadn’t been called about the confrontation, told her that her motivation was her objection to the women’s marriage.

Peterson and Bissell were legally married in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2009.

The lawsuit was filed in June.

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Associated Press

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