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Bangor, Maine Newspaper Rips Anti-Gay Disinformation

September 18, 2009

There is a huge political fight over civil rights in Maine this fall, and many on the right are trying to foist false information into the debate over same-sex marriage.  The Bangor Daily News has rebuked the anti-gay misleading charges with an editorial that sets the conservatives in place.

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.

  1. September 18, 2009 12:03 PM

    I will take you at your word that you have no problem with gay marriage. And I say thanks.

    But I must call attention to the phrase “normal marriage”…sounds like Mr. Cleaver got to write a line there. Also I must mention “if any children being raised by gays couples are in the school” They are in the schools,and they have been for many many years. I raise these two items just so call attention to them and not let other readers miss the need to pay attention to small things, as they matter.

    As for sex-ed, the whole topic is so watered down in most places that it is more a laugh than a real lesson. The playground, sadly, is where most sex-ed takes place. (I was one of the smarter guys my age as I loved to read and after finding out the basics of sex from the library I charged a small fee from each guy one day after lunch and told what I knew behind the school. And some think I am not a capitalist!)

  2. September 18, 2009 11:50 AM

    Except that it isn’t disinformation. The only disinformation being spread is by those in favor of gay marriage. They deliberately focus exclusivity on the specific language of the legislation while carefully ignoring that legislation’s effects.

    If gay marriage becomes legal in ME, then teacher will be forced by other laws to ensure that they teach that is as desirable as normal marriage, especially if any children being raised by gays couples are in the school.

    They could no more do otherwise then they could could teach that mixed-race marriage were less desirable, or fail to teach that they were as desirable if the issue came up in class or the schoolyard.

    And of course, if gay marriage becomes legal, then there would be no legal excuse for not teaching gay sex in schools. With no excuse left to prevent it, be assured that gay activists will fight to have it incorporated in sex-ed – and they’ll win.

    I don’t have a problem with any of the above, but to say that it wouldn’t happen and that people who claim it will are lying is a pernicious falsehood.

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