Thursday, October 09, 2008

Vote "No" on Prop 8 part III: This is just getting silly now

Ok, sorry to be repetitive, but I saw another "yes" on prop 8 ad this morning based on another misrepresentation.

The ad starts with a young girl coming home from school explaining to her mother how she can marry a princess when she grows up. Then some law professor says that "This could happen because, without Proposition8, same sex marriage will be taught in schools." I'm paraphrasing here, but that's the gist.

Basically, they want you to think that because same sex marriage is legal, that public school teachers will now teach your daughter to be a lesbian. The disconnect is already obvious, but let's take a look.

First, let's remember that Proposition 8 is the suggested change to the California Constitution, voting "no" is the status quo. If Proposition 8 doesn't pass, there is no trigger that will suddenly mandate the teaching of gay porn or anything. Everything just stays the same.

Second, Proposition 8 has nothing to do with education code. This is an amendment to the California Constitution, which is another reason not to take this lightly or base your decision on these fear mongering tactics. Nothing will suddenly change the educational code so that somewhere in there it will all of a sudden require teachers to give demonstrations of same sex sex.

Third, Proposition 8 proponents want you to think that because the existing education code mentions "marriage" that somehow now schools will be required to teach homosexuality. To the extent that the existing education code mentions "marriage"at all, it is in the context of what goes into the general curriculum of either sexual health education and HIV prevention or the comprehensive health education program (Sections 51933 and 51890 of the Education Code, respectively).

As all of you know awkwardly know, the curriculum for sex ed varies greatly between school districts. This is because the curriculum for sex ed (which is NOT required by the state) is developed by each school district. The state sets general guidelines, including general topics and when certain topics (like sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control) should be taught, but that's it. Each school district is free to develop a sex ed plan that falls within the general guidelines.

The ONLY time marriage is mentioned in this context is when it says that "Instruction and materials shall teach respect for marriage and committed relationships."(You can get the full subsection here). That's it. Just respect. So if a school district chooses to have sex ed, they are supposed to teach respect for marriage and committed relationships. To the extent that school districts weren't mandated to teach about civil unions between same sex couples before as "committed relationships" they are not not mandated to "teach" same sex marriage now, whatever that means. In a state with a 50% divorce rate, I think this is almost humorous.

The other mention of marriage is under the definition of what should go into a district's "comprehensive health education program," whatever that is. Like sex ed, this plan is developed by the school district under guidelines promulgated by the Department of Education. In this section, "marriage" is mentioned in a list of subjects that should be part of the program; a list that includes other things like "oral health" and "posture." The mention of marriage is thus:

Family health and child development, including the legal and financial aspects and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.
Full subsection here.

Yup, that's it. The legal and financial aspects of marriage and parenthood. Has nothing to do with sex or gender.

Now, if it's just "homosexuality" and "school children" being mentioned in the same sentence that makes you uncomfortable (which is what I think the ad is really trying to provoke), that's fine, but Prop 8 is about "marriage," and again, doesn't have anything to do with education code.

And there have always been school topics that might bring up homosexuality. Sex ed has always supposed to teach about sexually transmitted diseases and other topics that affect both straight and gay couples. Although I dare say most schools are probably remiss in looking at these topics from a homosexual point of view. Learning about how HIV can be transmitted through both gay and straight sex didn't suddenly mandate a teacher to teach homosexual activity. How can teaching respect for, and the financial and legal consequences of marriage suddenly make Sally want to marry Katie?

It won't. Don't let the fear mongers win. Please.


Strange Bird said...

But you're preaching to the choir, man. The voice of reason never even comes close to the people who will end up voting yes.

the default attorney said...

Yeah, you're right.

I'm just worried about the people on the fence, who, when the hear the fabrications about their church losing its tax exempt status (wrong) or their fourth grad teacher teaching little Tommy to be a bottom (wrong again) will be be swayed to vote for this.

Because to a reasonable person, those sound like good reasons to vote for it. The problem is that none of those are actually true.