|Subject: Action Alert: Opponent's School Ad - from Pride Foundation and Washington United for Marriage|
|From: Gabi Clayton ~ Safe Schools Coalition <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date: 10/30/2012 9:37 AM|
Note: We are sharing this item because we believe that it is an issue Safe Schools Coalition members and friends may be interested in.************************************
If you have opinion about it, please let your voice be heard.
State educational policy on families was established five years earlier, long before marriage was legalized for same-sex couples in the state. In 1999, Massachusetts developed a new Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework that read, “Students will gain knowledge about the significance of the family on individuals and society.”As the US Court of Appeals First District summarized: “In January 2005, when Jacob Parker (‘Jacob’) was in kindergarten, he brought home a ‘Diversity Book Bag.’ This included a picture book, Who's in a Family?, which depicted different families, including single-parent families, an extended family, interracial families, animal families, a family without children, and -- to the concern of the Parkers -- a family with two dads and a family with two moms. The book concludes by answering the question, ‘Who's in a family?’: ‘The people who love you the most!’ The book says nothing about marriage.”
Courts ruled parents had no right to take their children out of class or to even be informed when this instruction was going to take place.Fact Check
As a US Court of Appeals ruled: “Massachusetts does have a statute that requires parents be given notice and the opportunity to exempt their children from curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71, § 32A. The school system has declined to apply this statutory exemption to these plaintiffs on the basis that the materials do not primarily involve human sexual education or human sexuality issues.”The Boston Globe reported that parents in the Parkers’ school did get notification: “Rachel Cortez, president of the school’s parent-teacher association, said … parents are given a chance to examine the books during a back-to-school night event early in the school year.”
TONIA PARKER: If marriage is redefined in Washington, same sex marriage could be taught in local schools, just as it was in Massachusetts.Fact Check
Don't make the same mistake and think that gay marriage won't affect you.
The marriage equality law passed in Washington has nothing to do with curriculum taught in schools. As noted above, the curriculum taught in Massachusetts Public Schools was completely unrelated to the court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.-----------------------------------
A new ad launched today by Preserve Marriage Washington (PMW) entitled “Schools” tells a story that is not only outdated, it’s dead wrong. In fact, even the book shown in the ad, “King & King,” is not the book involved in David and Tonia Parker’s complaint. The book in their son’s diversity book bag, which was at the center of their dispute with the Lexington, MA school system, was actually called “Who’s in A Family?”
The case presented by the Parkers has been fact-checked and labeled “misleading” and “false” by respected media outlets [more here]. There are no new details in today’s ad to refute those determinations. In fact, it is telling that PMW does not have a more recent example than this fully discredited, seven-year-old claim – one that the United States Supreme Court refused to hear. Washingtonians deserve a more honest conversation about Referendum 74 and the freedom to marry.
Here are the facts about the Parkers’ claim that “When Massachusetts redefined marriage, schools taught it to children in second grade, including the school our son attended.”
In 2004, gay and lesbian couples were granted the freedom to marry in Massachusetts as a result of a state Supreme Court decision. This decision had no effect on educational standards or other instructions to schools.
State educational policy on families was established five years earlier, long before marriage was legalized for same-sex couples in the state. In 1999, Massachusetts developed a new Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework that read, “Students will gain knowledge about the significance of the family on individuals and society.”
State law already protects parental rights with regard to teaching values at home. In 1996, the Massachusetts legislature adopted a parental notification statute to be implemented by schools starting with the 1997-1998 school year. This law requires districts to provide parents with notice of and an opportunity to exempt their children from "curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues."
In January of 2005, the Parker’s son was sent home from school with a “diversity book bag.” In that bag was a picture book called “Who’s in a family?” which depicted different kinds of families and stated, "Who's in a family?" "The people who love you the most!" The book says nothing about marriage.
The school district did not apply the parental notification and exemption statute in this situation, as the U.S. Court of Appeals wrote: “on the basis that the materials do not primarily involve human sexual education or human sexuality issues.” (pp 3-4)
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education told Politifact that the state does not mandate a curriculum on same-sex marriage in kindergarten. A spokesman said,"Massachusetts does not require that students in any grade be taught about gay marriage." Politifact rated the story from the claims about this incident to be false.
This ad is not new. Not only was this the basis for a TV ad used in California to pass Proposition 8 in 2008, this exact same ad is on the air in three other states facing questions about same-sex marriage this November: Minnesota, Maine, and Maryland.
In Minnesota, CBS News Minnesota pointed out that the overall premise of the ad is false. In a fact check of this claim, CBS wrote: “There’s no evidence that Massachusetts ‘teaches’ gay marriage or that young children are being indoctrinated, as the Parkers alleged. Massachusetts schools do have a diversity curriculum, called the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework, that includes same-sex marriage; but it was developed before gay marriage was legal.”
This is not the first time the Parkers have appeared on camera here in Washington. In a five-minute video produced by the DC-based Family Research Council and on PMW’s website for the last week, the Parkers told their story in a more elongated form. You can see our MarriageFactCheck takedown of their story here.
Finally, the premise of the ad is entirely false: that, somehow, our marriage law and R74 has something to do with K-12 curriculum in Washington state. The body of law that deals with curriculum is a completely separate body of law from either family law or marriage law. Not only is there not a direct line, there isn't even a dotted line.
WA media – and voters – should know that this is not only a recycled argument, it’s one that’s repeatedly been found to be false and misleading. It’s designed for one purpose only – to scare and confuse voters and I urge you to do your own independent fact check. I am sure you will find what every other reputable independent outlet has found – that the “Schools” ad raises hysteria that simply bears no relationship to the facts, and has absolutely nothing to do with Referendum 74 and our bipartisan marriage law.
Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework
“Diversity Book Bag”
U.S. Court of Appealshttp://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/07-1528-01A.pdf
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