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Putting the Education Issue to Rest?

October 8, 2009

In light of even more lying ads from the Stand for Marriage Maine, the Bangor Daily News is reporting that state education commissioner Susan Gendron has requested that the Attorney General’s office investigate and report whether LD 1020, marriage equality, will impact school curricula.

Gendron and Maine education officials have said that the law will have no impact on curriculum decisions. While Stand for Marriage Maine has defended the ads as raising legitimate questions, the campaign to defend Maine’s same-sex marriage law has accused the opposition of employing distortion and scare tactics to sway public opinion.

But in response to continuing questions from the media and the public, Gendron sent a letter to Attorney General Janet Mills on Wednesday asking for an analysis of the law and any legal ramifications of a Massachusetts court decision referenced in the ads.

“The commissioner felt it would be helpful to put this issue to rest,” education department spokesman David Connerty-Marin said Wednesday night…

…In her letter to Mills, Gendron said her department has said several times “that, in our view, curriculum decisions would not be impacted in any way based on the outcome of the referendum question.” However, questions have persisted and are now being directed to superintendents, Gendron wrote.

“Since the questions raise issues of the legal ramifications of a Massachusetts court decision, it would be of great assistance to the department if you would provide us with your legal analysis and conclusions regarding this issue,” the letter reads. “I feel that it is important that the department be able to provide legally correct guidance to the field and to the public on this issue.”

Connerty-Marin said Wednesday evening that the word “marriage” does not appear in the education standards or regulations and that specific curriculum decisions are largely a local issue. The state has offered diversity education for years, he said.

But apparently, Stand for Marriage Maine doesn’t want an official ruling on this from the Attorney General’s office.  Seeing both of these as political appointments, Rev. Emrich argues hopes Attorney General Mills will refuse the request (I’m sure it has nothing to do with wanting to continue to use this disingenuous argument).

Commissioner Gendron asking Attorney General Mills for an unbiased opinion on Question 1 smacks of a political stunt,” Emrich said. “Hopefully, Attorney General Mills will not allow her department to be misused in such a manner.”

Seems the Yes on 1 campaign has a really broad understanding of what education means until something is about educating voters to the truth.

Here is video of Mills’ testimony from the hearings on LD 1020 in Maine (where she focuses on the difference between marriage and civil unions).

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