Thursday, October 23, 2008

Proponents of Proposition 8 Targeting Public Schools

With the election just weeks away, proponents of Proposition 8 in California appear to be ramping up their efforts to overturn the state Supreme Court decision allowing for same sex marriages. In an effort to overturn the decision in In Re Marriage Cases, supporters of Proposition 8 have taken to running commercials suggesting the harmful effects that legalized same sex marriages will have on schools and their students. (Samples of some of the commercials can be found here and here.)

In these commercials, advocates of the proposition worry that schools will be required to teach students about same sex marriage. Proponents of the measure point to instances such as a field trip of first graders, with parental permission, to San Francisco City Hall where their teacher was married to her female partner.

However, opponents of Proposition 8 state that schools have already been teaching tolerance of gays and lesbians, long before the Court decision. Children have been taught about such issues as homophobia, discrimination against homosexuals and sexual orientation; whether Proposition 8 passes or not, schools indicate they will continue teaching such subjects.

Many campaign ads focus on the negative and often instill some level of fear into the public. However, as is the case in most instances, the opponents of Proposition 8 provided concrete evidence of the effects this measure will, or rather won’t, have on the education of students.

As presented in the article, “[a]n estimated 52,000 children are being raised by two mothers or two fathers in California.” Children will notice such things and have questions; this will occur whether same sex marriage is legalized or not. With the changing world, it seems necessary to help children with their questions and teach them acceptance rather than discrimination. Perhaps it should be the parents rather than the school teaching this, but it seems odd that this issue seems to only have appeared with the vote on Proposition 8 approaching.

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