Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

Same-sex marriage foes warn of kindergarten lessons on gay matrimony

Posted by morganwrites on August 2, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — 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.

“If the gay marriage ruling is not overturned, teachers will be required to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage,” supporters of Proposition 8 said in ballot arguments that went on public display this week at the secretary of state’s office.

It’s all nonsense and scare tactics, opponents of the measure said Thursday. Steve Smith, strategist for the No on 8 campaign, said opponents 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 argument represents an attempt by opponents of same-sex marriage to open a new front in the Prop. 8 campaign, although the interplay between gay rights and educational standards in California has surfaced before. Religious conservatives have sued in federal court to overturn a state law that took effect this year prohibiting public schools from discriminating because of sexual orientation or identity.

Prop. 8 would reverse a May 15 ruling by the state Supreme Court that struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The initiative would amend the state Constitution to declare that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Neither the ruling nor the ballot measure mentions education. But Yes on 8 campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns said Thursday that the court decision would make instruction on same-sex marriage mandatory under a state law that requires public schools to offer comprehensive health education programs from kindergarten through high school.

Quoting the law, she said those programs must provide instruction on “the legal and financial aspects and responsibilities of marriage.” That means students at every grade level must now be taught that same-sex marriage is the same as opposite-sex marriage, Kerns said.

In the ballot arguments, Prop. 8 supporters declared, “We should not accept a court decision that results in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay. That is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. It shouldn’t be forced on us against our will.”

The text of the education law, however, doesn’t specify that health education programs at every grade level must include marriage, or that same-sex marriage must be discussed at all. State law also allows parents to remove children from any health class that violates the parents’ religious beliefs.

An opponent of Prop. 8, attorney Shannon Minter, who represented same-sex couples in the state Supreme Court case, said California law requires only that students be taught at some point before high school graduation about the legal and financial aspects of marriage.

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 Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“This is a pure fabrication,” he said of the Yes on 8 ballot argument. “They are trying to inflame people by making up these falsehoods about kids.”

The Yes on 8 argument steers clear of moral and religious issues – it asserts, in fact, that the ballot measure “is not an attack on the gay lifestyle” – and instead condemns “the outrageous decision of four activist Supreme Court judges who overturned the will of the people.”

That was a reference to a 2000 ballot measure, passed by a 61 percent majority but struck down by the court. Drafted as a statute rather than a constitutional amendment, the 2000 initiative reaffirmed the state’s previous ban on same-sex marriage.

“While gays have the right to their private lives, they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else,” the Prop. 8 supporters say.

The No on 8 argument also seeks to defuse religious and political controversies over gay rights and presents the issue as one of fairness and freedom from government intrusion.

“The government has no business telling people who can and cannot get married,” opponents of the measure declare. “Regardless of how anyone feels about marriage for gay and lesbian couples, people should not be singled out for unfair treatment under the laws of our state.”

The ballot pamphlet also includes a cost assessment of the measure by the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst, Elizabeth Hill. She said Prop. 8 could cost state and local governments several tens of millions of dollars in sales tax revenue from same-sex weddings over the next few years but would have little financial effect on governments in the long run.

Read the ballot arguments

The Nov. 4 ballot pamphlet, which will be distributed to all registered voters, is on the California secretary of state’s Web site:


5 Responses to “Same-sex marriage foes warn of kindergarten lessons on gay matrimony”

  1. Roschelle said

    Hi Morgan, great post…I’m no homophobe by any stretch of the definition. However, I do believe marriage was designed by God for Man and WoMan. Therefore, there can never be such a thing as gay-marriage. It’s the quintessential oxy-moron! Now, their “civil unions” and so on and what have you are totally different. I don’t condone their lifestyle but I guess if they’ve been in a committed relationship for years…their partner ought to have rights i.e. insurance, benefits, yada yada yada. But a marriage it can never be.


  2. Roschelle – I understand where you’re coming from and have no issues with that. I think that if gays wish to ‘marry’ via civil unions, then they should have the same benefits as married people do.
    Having been an Estate/Financial Planner for 20+ years it was easy to make sure the surviving partner received the tangible items, but as far as benefits – forget about it.
    Thanks for commenting.
    Have a great week.

  3. Jennifer Kerns is quoted here as a spokeswoman for ‘Yes on 8’, but the question I’d like to ask is:

    Is Jennifer even married?

    Does she have children?

    She’s being quoted here as the lead spokeswoman of a campaign to deny the benefits of marriage to real parents raising real kids. I’m straight, married, and like to think my wife and I are raising a couple of great kids. But, if you’re going to convince me to deny the benefits of marriage to gay parents, I need to hear from someone who brings some actual personal experience with caring for a family of their own.

    I suspect that Jennifer Kerns is, in fact, single.

    If so, how about Jennifer leaving the business of “protecting marriage” to those of us who’ve actually chosen marriage?

  4. Chico Blanco
    Whether Jennifer Kerns is single or not or does or doesn’t have children is not the issue.
    Re-read this paragraph from the story – In the ballot arguments, Prop. 8 supporters declared, “We should not accept a court decision that results in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay. That is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. It shouldn’t be forced on us against our will.”
    Does this sound like Jennifer is pro-same-sex marriage, or have I missed something?
    Thanks for commenting.

  5. We got to really appreciate the work done!!!!! keep it up.

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