The Massachusetts History
As in California, same-sex marriage was legalized by a bare, 4-3 majority of the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 2003. The Lexington Massachusetts school district adopted a curriculum that included teaching children as young as kindergarten about same-sex marriage. The district refused to give parents prior notice of the instruction and refused to allow parents to excuse their children from the instruction, even though a Massachusetts statute required that parents be given notice and an opportunity to exempt their children from any curriculum that "primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues" (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71, § 32A).
The parents sued the school district (Parker v. Hurley, 474 F. Supp. 2d 261 (D. Mass. 2007)) and argued that by forcing their children to be subjected to a curriculum that is contrary to their religious beliefs the district violated their constitutional right as parents to direct the moral training of their children and their right to the free exercise of their religion. The trial court dismissed their claims, relying in part on language in Massachusetts law that is very similar to California Education Code section 51933. [Section 51933 provides that sex education course content must teach “respect for marriage and committed relationships”; that “Instruction and materials shall be appropriate for use with pupils of all… sexual orientations”; and that “Instruction and materials may not reflect or promote bias against any person on the basis of any category protected by Section 220” (which includes sexual orientation).] Citing this statute, the court stated: “Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination in public schools based on sex or sexual orientation. It also requires that public school curricula encourage respect for all individuals regardless of, among other things, sexual orientation.... In view of the value to the community of preparing students to respect differences in their personal interactions with others and in their future participation in the political process, the conduct at issue in this case is rationally related to the goal of preparing them for citizenship.”
The parents appealed to the federal Court of Appeal (Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008)). Some of the very organizations that are now funding and driving the No on 8 campaign – and claiming that same-sex marriage will not be taught in California schools – filed briefs with the Court of Appeal in which they argued that same-sex marriage must be taught in the public schools and that parents are not entitled to receive prior notice of such instruction or to excuse their children from it. Their briefs show that the No on 8 campaign is deliberately deceiving California voters when it says gay marriage will not be taught in California public schools.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a leading member of the No on 8 campaign. The ADL’s Amicus Curiae Brief stated:
- "In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where the right of same-sex couples to marry is protected under the state constitution, it is particularly important to teach children about families with gay parents." [p. 5]
- "Diversity education is most effective when it begins during the students' formative years. The earlier diversity education occurs, the more likely it is that students will be able to educate their peers, thereby compounding the benefits of this instruction." [p. 3]
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has funneled over $2 million to No on 8, Equality for All, the main No on Proposition 8 campaign committee. HRC’s Amicus Curiae Brief stated:
- "There is no constitutional principle grounded in either the First Amendment's free exercise clause or the right to direct the upbringing of one's children, which requires defendants to either remove the books now in issue - or to treat them as suspect by imposing an opt-out system." [pp. 1-2]
- "In short, there can be no serious dispute that the books in issue are both age-appropriate and reflect the growing diversity of American families." [p. 9]
- "Lexington's selection of the [three] books...for inclusion in its curriculum is firmly rooted in the long-recognized tradition of public schools as a place for disseminating the knowledge and information that helps to foster understanding between diverse groups and individuals for the overall benefit of society." [p. 13]
The Northern California Chapter of the ACLU has contributed $1,250,000 to No on 8, Equality for All. The ACLU Amicus Curiae Brief stated:
- "Specifically, the parents in this case do not have a constitutional right to override the professional pedagogical judgment of the school with respect to the inclusion within the curriculum of the age-appropriate children's book...'King and King'." [p. 9]
- "This court has astutely recognized that a broad right of a parent to opt a child out of a lesson would fatally compromise the ability of a school to provide a meaningful education, a conclusion that holds true regardless of the age of the child or the nature of the belief." [p. 18]
- "First, a broad right of a parent to opt a child out of a lesson would subject a school to a staggering administrative burden...Second, in contravention of the axiom that 'the classroom is peculiarly the 'marketplace of ideas' [citations], a broad right of a parent to opt a child out of a lesson would chill discussion in the classroom...Third, the coming and goings of those children who have been opted out of lessons would be highly disruptive to the learning environment. Moreover, such comings and goings would fatally undermine the lessons that schools teach the other students." [pp. 22-23]
Prop. 8 Opponents v. Parental Rights
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a coalition member of and major donor to the No on 8 campaign. The NCLR opposes the right of California parents to receive prior notice of instruction regarding same-sex marriage and to opt their children out of such instructions. The NCLR published a document entitled LGBT Legal Issues for School Attorneys that purports to advise school district attorneys regarding issues related to sexual orientation. This document states:
- “State law explicitly provides that ‘instruction or materials that discuss gender, sexual orientation, or family life and do not discuss human reproductive organs and their functions’ is not subject to the parental notice and opt-out laws. California Education Code § 51932(b).”
- “So long as these programs do not include sexually explicit content (i.e., discuss the human reproductive organs and their functions), parents are not entitled to prior notice and the opportunity to opt their children out.”
The opponents of Proposition 8 intend to insert same-sex marriage into our public school classrooms, and they will seek to nullify the rights of parents to direct the moral education of their own children. They desperately seek to conceal their plans by falsely accusing the Yes on 8 campaign of lying. Yet their briefs and published documents reveal their true intent, in their own words.
This article incorporates content provided by ProtectMarriage.com