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Bangor Daily News Editorial on Fear Tactics by ‘Yes on 1’

September 19, 2009

The Bangor Daily News ran a pointed editorial yesterday regarding the Yes on 1 campaign’s misleading emails and advertising that try to scare parents with the idea that their children will be taught about gay marriage and the “gritty details” of those relationships in school.

Still, the repeal proponents have touched on a truth, seemingly in spite of themselves. Gay couples are currently allowed to adopt. And many have children from previous heterosexual relationships. Those children attend our schools, and have for decades. If Sally’s two dads come to an elementary school awards night, or if Billy’s two moms come to the school concert, the relationships may become a topic in the morning circle discussion the next day.

Whether Sally’s or Billy’s same-sex parents are married or living together does not change the discussion the teacher might facilitate. If same-sex marriage remains legal, the teacher would merely be using different terminology than he or she would have used last year or 10 years ago.

So, the question that remains about the repeal proponents is: Are they knowingly misleading people by claiming schools will be forced to teach the details of gay sex, or are they genuinely ignorant that same-sex couples are among us, and that their children are in our schools? Neither speaks well of their argument supporting a yes vote.

Definitely worth reading the full piece after the jump.


The debate about the Nov. 3 ballot’s Question 1, the effort to repeal Maine’s newly minted same-sex marriage law, will heat up in the coming weeks. Heat is one thing. Falsehoods are another.

Opponents of the law are bringing children into the fray, suggesting their innocence would be sullied if the repeal fails. It’s a ploy that has been used effectively before; any candidate for elected office who supports sex education is said to favor handing out condoms to kindergarten children. This time, the claim by repeal proponents is that schools would be forced to teach “gay sex education.” It is baseless and betrays an ignorance about education.

The claim was made by the Stand for Marriage Maine group in a recent mass e-mail message soliciting donations. In addition, the Rev. Bob Emrich of the Emmanuel Bible Baptist Church in Plymouth, a member of the Stand for Marriage group’s executive committee, wrote in a BDN OpEd: “No matter what their parents may teach them, Maine schools would indoctrinate their children that homosexual marriage is completely normal and equally desirable as traditional marriage and there is nothing parents could do to prevent it.”

This is not true.

The same-sex marriage law does not address anything in state education law. And, further, there are no state mandates to teach sex education, let alone explicit “gay sex education,” as the repeal group’s e-mail stated. Sexuality is discussed in most Maine high schools, and has been for decades, but locally elected school boards oversee those curriculums and parents are able to exempt their children from those discussions.

Still, the repeal proponents have touched on a truth, seemingly in spite of themselves. Gay couples are currently allowed to adopt. And many have children from previous heterosexual relationships. Those children attend our schools, and have for decades. If Sally’s two dads come to an elementary school awards night, or if Billy’s two moms come to the school concert, the relationships may become a topic in the morning circle discussion the next day.

Whether Sally’s or Billy’s same-sex parents are married or living together does not change the discussion the teacher might facilitate. If same-sex marriage remains legal, the teacher would merely be using different terminology than he or she would have used last year or 10 years ago.

So, the question that remains about the repeal proponents is: Are they knowingly misleading people by claiming schools will be forced to teach the details of gay sex, or are they genuinely ignorant that same-sex couples are among us, and that their children are in our schools? Neither speaks well of their argument supporting a yes vote.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bonnie Boyce permalink
    September 23, 2009 1:26 pm

    I as a tax paying American and over 65 years of age would like to know if your Senators are Republicans and are representing the views of the elderly citizens of Maine. They just killed all the old people in Maine. I hope that you are all proud of them and their decisions? I sincerely hope that the good citizens of Maine can find responsible people to run against them in the next election.

    • nseaver permalink
      September 23, 2009 1:40 pm

      Ma’am,

      I have no idea what you are talking about. Senators Snowe and Collins are registered republicans. Their job is to represent all Mainers, not just the elderly. I’m proud of a few of their votes and vehemently disagree with others.

      I’m not sure what your comment has to do with this post.

  2. Bonnie Boyce permalink
    September 23, 2009 1:28 pm

    What do you mean when you say waiting moderation?

  3. Diana Perkins permalink
    October 10, 2009 8:16 am

    When I was in school, the test would give me two options, True or False. It didn’t matter what my opinion was; the answer had to match the standard key guide that the teacher went by. There was a standard. The standard in marriage is uniting a male and a female for bette or for worse as husband and wife. It has nothing to do with hatred or prejudice. It is the gray area that causes people to stumble around. Don’t be deceived by the twisiting of truth. Our families are at stake and I hope that Mainers will step forward and say “ENOUGH”

  4. Daniel Horan permalink
    October 13, 2009 1:15 pm

    Diana: I’m not sure where you went to school, but I stopped getting true or false tests when I was in about seventh grade. In high school, we had to either write our own answer or choose from multiple choices. On many questions, there was more than one correct answer and we were to circle all of the choices that were true. The ‘tradition’ argument that you’re using was used in the 1950s and 60s to justify keeping people from marrying outside of their race or ethnicity. In fact, when Richard Loving was sentenced to a year in prison by a judge for the then-unthinkable crime of falling in love and marrying a black woman, the ruling read in part:
    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
    Doesn’t that sound a lot to you like the justification that is being thrown about to oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians? ‘It’s not the way God intended it’ ; ‘It’s always been this way’ etc. I don’t expect to change your mind, but please consider reading the history of miscegenation law in this nation and compare it to what’s happening now. You might be surprised at how reasonable (and similar) the court rulings look when you put them side by side.

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