What CA schools teach about marriage

by on July 31, 2008  •  In Elections, Marriage

UPDATE: Prop 8 opponents have challenged this draft language in Sacramento Superior Court.

The draft of the official ballot arguments from each side have just been made public for Prop 8 in California, the proposal that would take away the right of same-sex couples to marry.  You can read them here (scroll down to Prop 8).  Its proponents have come up with a new – and I think potentially effective (although misleading) – argument that seeks to fill the enormous gap that their claims have always had: their failure to persuade people that allowing gay couples to marry would harm anyone else.  After invoking the traditional definition of marriage and "the outrageous decision of four activist judges" who formed the majority in the California Supreme Court decision, the pro  Prop 8 argument asserts that it would "protect our children from being taught in public schools that ‘same-sex marriage’ is the same as traditional marriage." It then characterizes the public school curriculum (that presumably is soon to be the status quo) as "teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay." The rebuttal argument asserts that no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about health and family issues – in other words, California law provides parents the right to exercise an opt-out for their children from the family/health curriculum.

From the SF Chronicle coverage:

Prop. 8 backers take fight to kindergarten

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Backers of a November initiative to ban same-sex marriage in California plan to tell voters in the state ballot pamphlet that the constitutional amendment would protect children as young as kindergarten age from being taught in school about the virtues of gay and lesbian matrimony….

…[O]pponents of the measure will decide by next week whether to sue, which is the only way a ballot argument can be changed before the election.

The state Department of Education recommends that marriage be discussed in high school, but each school district designs its own program, with parental input, said [Shannon] Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. …


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