Schools the proving grounds for another anti-gay ballot measure

So this is how, ‘Stand for Marriage Maine’ – is using public education fears to generate the voters necessary to overturn the recently passed gay marriage law in that state.

The organization has made commercial after commercial presenting the dangers to children imposed by gay marriage in Maine.
And as I was looking at this education hand wringing, I got to thinking this couple looked familiar and then I saw why when I saw this old Yes on Prop 8 ad:

An ad and a campaign strategy that turned the tide in California against those gay families who had only recently been garnered the civil rights and responsibilities of state sanctioned marriage.

The current Maine ads are pretty clean cut, according to SFMM schools will be forced to teach same sex – sex education starting in kindergarten. That was the winning argument in California. 

Though both then and now this argument is verifiably false and there is nothing in Maine education codes that will require teaching anything like this:

According to the Department of Education, no specific curriculum language exists or would exist that instructs schools to teach about marriage. There are guidelines for students to discuss their own health in context of family life, but nothing explicit. The exact lesson plans are created by an individual school system, some of which already talk about heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Still the group is counting on something akin to the disturbing image of the Wirthlin’s ridicule (according to the video the were bullied for their faith in their moral superiority) for opposing a second grade teachers reading of  King and King.

The couple’s stigmatization for their beliefs and what they consider the vulnerability of their child who is being exposed to a gay couple is encapsulated in this interview.  The viewer is to identify with their superior moral status and the danger of losing it, in order to generate the necessary fear that will motivate voters to repeal Maine’s same sex marriage law. 

Voters are to see that schools and children at risk of being forced to recognize differing constructions of family.  Kinda takes me back to that question lost on the popular media all the time.  What is it that our governing system considered a family and who is in the typical family in this country anyway?  Because as it turns out, there are a lot of different kinds of typical families. And it turns out that it’s economics, not family structure that make the lives of children in diverse families more or less successful. 

So a childs educational success is dependent upon financial security not on the relationships of the adults caring for and loving these children.  But ironically diverse families economic security is nearly annually placed in the hands of popular ballots. 

In any case, it seems to me that a lot of familial toes are being stepped on in this campaign to maintain the superior status and singular visibility of one form of family by virtue of the fact that it represents just over half of the population of children.  Not only are gay parents, but also adoptive families, single parent families, blended families, sibling headed families,  relative headed families, foster families, and many other configurations of loving homes all must bow to a single portrayal of family as the only thing ‘approprate’ for elementary children to discuss at school.  The remaining 40% of the U.S. children’s homes are just too sordid for a second grader to consider.

Well, of course I disagree.  King and King is an ‘appropriate’ and very simple portrayal of some of this countries very real households, as is Brown Like Me.  Not to mention Love is a Family and Zachary’s New Home.  A school that choses to serve and make visible the children from all of these families is going to be a place more children can feel safe and loved and ready to learn. 

I would argue that it is only when one form of family has to be place at the top as the most or the only legitimate  home for a child that the jeering, harassment, and interpersonal violence begins.

Hat tip to Box Turtle Bulletin

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One response to “Schools the proving grounds for another anti-gay ballot measure

  1. Pingback: “The disparaging remarks and hostility that we faced” « Schooling Inequality