The gay marriage battle in California
has evolved into a war over children and whether their curriculum
would include gay marriage if Proposition 8 – the ballot initiative
that seeks to forbid gay marriage in the state – should fail.
The Yes-On-8 campaign started the feud
with two advertisements airing in California in which the anti-gay
group claims that without Prop. 8 children would be subjected to
learning about gay marriage in public schools.
In the group's second ad, a mother is
frightened as her daughter tells her that she learned that she could
marry a princess at school.
A counter-ad by gay marriage proponents
quickly called the claim a “lie.”
“Their attacks have come before and
they always use the same scare tactics,” an announcer says as
Yes-On-8 ads are displayed in television screens. “This time they
want to eliminate rights and they're using lies to persuade you.
Prop. 8 will not affect church tax status. That's a lie. And it
will not effect teaching in schools. Another lie. It's time to shut
down the scare tactics.”
Yesterday, the shouting match
intensified yet again as gay marriage opponents released a press
release critical of a recently reported field trip where children
attended the gay wedding of their teacher.
“[J]ust two days after the No-On-8
'Lies' television commercial began airing, a first grade public
school class in San Francisco was taken on a field trip to a lesbian
wedding at City Hall, officiated by mayor Gavin Newsom,” the press
In a heightened, even exaggerated tone,
the release counters that it is the No-On-8 campaign that is lying
about children being taught about gay marriage.
“On one coast of the country
[Massachusetts] they tell judges that gay marriage should be taught
to children in school at the youngest possible age,” said Yes-On-8
Campaign Manager Frank Schubert. “But, on the opposite coast, here
in California, they have the audacity to tell voters that gay
marriage has nothing to do with public schools.”
“Lying ... who's really lying?”
“Not only do the organizations
leading the No on 8 campaign want gay marriage, under the guise of
'diversity', taught in public schools, they believe it is important
to teach it at the earliest possible age,” Schubert said.
The campaign railed against
Massachusetts' Parker v. Hurley, where a federal district
court found against parents who objected to their children learning
about gay marriage as it applies in the state. The court found that
parents have no authority to veto the school's marriage curriculum on
the basis of disliking its inclusion of gay marriage.
The decision is not a gay marriage
victory, but a constitutional one. In Massachusetts, the
constitution says gay couples have the right to marry and the
constitution overrules the dislikes of certain groups.
But there is little marriage taught in
California's public schools. The only mention related to marriage in
the California education code has to do with navigating the financial
and legal responsibilities of marriage – an optional class for
school districts. Additionally, Parker v. Hurley would not
apply in California.
Because the gay marriage ban, for the
first time, leads by five points, the Yes-On-8 campaign is certain to
continue making its argument that without the ban children would be
taught gay marriage in public schools, no matter how tenuous that
link may be.