Maine Anti-Gays Copy California Bigots Again

I wrote on this last Friday, but now the Yes on Question 1 campaign, primarily funded by anti-gay group Stand For Marriage Maine, has used the exact footage from California’s bigoted Yes on 8 commercials in their newest commercial.
The only significant difference is the casting of Charla Bansley, a Maine anti-gay activist and teabagger, and Maine’s head of Concerned Women for America, in the role of the teacher. Bansley is a teacher at a private Christian school, and wrote an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News in 2000 calling for the abolishment of the Department of Education:

The best thing the Department of Education could do to improve
the quality of education is to close its doors and send back our
money.

A private school teacher who wishes to abolish public education wields little credibility in deciding its content. Bansley has been quoted describing same-sex relationships as a “Public display of psychosis.” Moya Watson has a good perspective on what impact Bansley’s hateful words have on families, and Julia Rosen of the Courage Campaign breaks down the egregious lies about Maine’s public curriculum that Bansley perpetuates.
And still, I wish that when opponents of equal rights say, “My child will be taught about same-sex marriage in public schools,” activists won’t answer, “That won’t happen.” but rather, “Yes. So what?”


Same-sex relationships should be taught in public schools when healthy relationships are taught in schools: from the first picture book describing a romantic relationship. The lawsuit filed by the Mormon parents in both ads against the state of Massachusetts alleged that the reading of the book “King & King” constituted sexual education without parental consent. Along these standards, any mention of romantic heterosexual relationships should constitute sexual education.
Truly fighting for equal rights requires a social change and public pressure. Why did textbook companies begin to consciously include photos of students of color in their course materials after the civil rights movement? Because diversity–of ethnicity, of community, and of culture -is the norm, not the exception. The idea of an “other,” of a “minority,” or even the implication of a same-sex marriage being “non-traditional,” alienates and isolates queer individuals and families worldwide.
Teach children about same-sex marriage in schools. Never refer to queer-identified individuals as “homosexuals.” Treat churches who refuse to perform same-sex marriages like those who refuse to perform interracial marriages.
But if Maine’s Question 1 is defeated, churches will remain the same, school curriculum will retain its heteronormativity, and “homosexuals” will still fear living openly. Maine conservatives have nothing to worry about.
Here is the Yes on 1 ad from Maine, titled “Everything To Do With Schools”:

Transcript
(Narrator) Opponents of Question 1 say that legalizing homosexual marriage has nothing to do with schools.
(Teacher) But it has everything to do with schools!
(Mother) After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, our son came home and told us that school taught him that boys can marry other boys. He’s in second grade!
(Teacher) It’s already happened in Massachusetts. Vote Yes on Question 1 to prevent homosexual marriage from being taught in Maine schools.
Here is the Yes on 8 ad from California, titled “Everything To Do With Schools”:

Transcript
(Narrator) Some say that gay marriage doesn’t have anything to do with schools.
(Teacher) But it has everything to do with schools!
(Mother) After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, our son came home and told us that school taught him that boys can marry other boys. He’s in second grade!
(Father) We tried to stop public schools from teaching children about gay marriage, but the court said we had no right to object or pull him out of class.
(Teacher) It’s already happened in Massachusetts. Gay marriage will be taught in our schools unless we vote Yes on Proposition 8.

Join the Conversation

  • Brittany

    And still, I wish that when opponents of equal rights say, “My child will be taught about same-sex marriage in public schools,” activists won’t answer, “That won’t happen.” but rather, “Yes. So what?”
    THIS. My best friend was raised by two women, and she’s the most amazing, accepting, open-minded person I know, but straight. If there were more people like her in the world, it’d be a great place. She was raised balanced, and her mothers are fantastic people. I was taught about same-sex marriages growing up, and I think it was really a great thing for me growing up. But apparently teaching same sex turns a little girl or boy gay when they grow up, since everyone knows that being gay is a CHOICE. /Eyeroll

  • NurseyPunk

    How is it that when I was in KINDERGARTEN, I could under same-sex relationships just fine, but these people can’t? The earlier children learn about the diversity of people, the better.
    For the record, here’s how my parents explained it to me. Excuse the terrible grammar, I was 5 years old ‘sexually attracted to’ wasn’t exactly in my vocabulary.
    “Some girls like-like boys, and some girls like-like girls. Some boys like-like girls, and some boys like-like boys. Okay?”
    It made perfect sense, and always has. Just like how babies come from a “mommy getting pregnant”, not the cabbage patch.

  • aleks

    This woman is ridiculous, but as a point of accuracy eliminating the DoE is not the same as abolishing public education.

  • http://mikearthur.co.uk mikearthur.co.uk

    “Treat churches who refuse to perform same-sex marriages like those who refuse to perform interracial marriages.”
    Firstly, presumably you don’t just mean churches. Presumably you also mean the holy buildings of any religion.
    I’m a Christian. I also believe in same-sex marriage. I also believe that gay Christians should be able to get married in a church if they and their minister agree in their interpretation of scripture.
    I don’t agree with them but various religions have justifiable reasons to believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
    Telling people they need to allow others to live their own lives in a multicultural society is totally correct. Not enforcing a religious moral code by law is also totally correct. However, forcing all religious people to follow your moral code will just do what people Dawkins has done to science and Christianity: massively polarise the issue and cause a backlash that helps neither party when actually they could have got alone fine.

  • aleks

    And still, I wish that when opponents of equal rights say, “My child will be taught about same-sex marriage in public schools,” activists won’t answer, “That won’t happen.” but rather, “Yes. So what?”
    I agree. The “That won’t happen” lie is too transparent to be convincing. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to convince someone to accept change if they believe it won’t affect them in any way.

  • libdevil

    Religions are free to preach against interracial marriage. We just shun them and call them out on their bigotry when they do so. Since the author stated that churches who preach bigotry against gays should be treated the same, I’m going to take her at her word, and not assume that we’re going to be sending in the FBI to arrest bigoted preachers any more than we do right now. It’s not about forcing all religious people to follow a certain code, it’s about pushing those whose code is absolutely repugnant outside the bounds of respectable discourse.
    And I totally agree that, “Yeah, so what?” should be the standard boiler-plate response to wingnut whining. “But that’s socialism!” Yeah, so what? “You want to raise taxes!” Yeah, so what? “But you’re hurt investment bankers!” Yeah, so what? “But white people don’t get affirmative action!” Yeah, so what? “You’re violating God’s will!” Yeah, so what? It works in so many situations.

  • aleks

    Only for people who don’t care about those things. Socialism, taxes, etc. strike some people as bad.

  • Adrian

    My 9-year-old niece goes to a public elementary school in Massachusetts, where she hasn’t been learning anything at all about gay relationships being ok. She didn’t even know what the word “gay” meant, until she asked me. (I told her it meant “homosexual,” and had to define that. She had no idea.) She starts middle school next year, where kids use “that’s so gay” to mean “that’s icky” or “that’s not socially acceptable for our group.” She’s a fair-minded child, but I worry about her.

  • JamesXL

    I don’t see how teaching a kid that something exists would steer the kid towards embracing it.
    To quote Chris Rock: “You can drive a car with your feet, but that don’t make it a good f@#$in’ idea.”
    Same thing with this. You teach a boy about homosexuality and that it exists. Doesn’t mean that he’s suddenly going to find humping other boys a great idea.
    There’s a difference between “Homosexuality exists, deal with it.” and “Homosexuality is good, go participate in it.”

  • thetroubleisme.wordpress.com

    I live in Maine and I haven’t seen one of these anti-marriage equality ads on TV, but I’ve seen all kinds of Pro ones. Either I’m not watching the right channels, or the antis are sucking at this. Good.

  • Quinc

    Gah, I remember hearing about prop8 as a resident of California and thinking “That’ll never pass!” how naive I was.
    I didn’t even speak up during an in class discussion. I remember at least one woman wasn’t worried so much by homosexuals as she was by flaming homosexuals. (huh? regret not calling her out on that).
    I don’t remember actually seeing many advertisements, but generally I don’t watch much TV. It’s hard to say how big an effect such campaigns had. Can anyone link to a post-vote survey?

  • http://thefutureofconservatism.wordpress.com thefutureofconservatism.wordpress.com

    Treat churches who refuse to perform same-sex marriages like those who refuse to perform interracial marriages.
    Wouldn’t that involve taking away tax exempt status not only from all authentically Christian churches, but from any organization that does not accept gay marraige? If Question 1 is not defeated, Christianity will be treated no differently than racism. Do you really want that?

  • thefutureofconservatism.wordpress.com

    This is the most recent thing I could find: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20090918-NEWS-909189971

  • Adrian

    said:
    “Wouldn’t that involve taking away tax exempt status not only from all authentically Christian churches, but from any organization that does not accept gay marriage?”
    You have been misinformed. (Either that, or “The Future of Conservativism,” is lying.) Under current American law, churches and other religious organizations can marry whoever they like, and pray however they like, without affecting their tax-exempt status. Churches are free to perform whatever marriages they like (and some do NOT perform interracial marriages, with no penalty at all.) Likewise, if a Jew and a non-Jew show up at an orthodox synagogue and want to marry each other, they will be told to go elsewhere, because orthodox synagogues don’t approve of intermarriage. And if a Catholic man and a Catholic woman, each previously married and divorced, show up at a Catholic church and want to marry each other, the priest will tell them they can’t get married because the church doesn’t let divorced people remarry.
    There have been legal cases challenging the tax exempt status of churches if they discriminate when they act as EMPLOYERS. Almost all churches hire office staff. Some hire non-religious teachers, or medical staff, or workers to run a homeless shelter. Churches don’t get a free license to discriminate in hiring/firing/benefit distribution. They have to follow most of the same laws as other employers.

  • writeoutloud

    Churches don’t ever have to marry *anyone* they don’t want to for *any* reason. In fact, pastors can decline even if the tenets of their religion don’t require it.
    Legalizing gay marriage will not affect the power of the churches, or even individual pastors, to marry or decline to marry any couple, regardless of gender, at their whim. It simply allows gay couples to have a legally recognizable marriage service performed by a judge or by a willing religious leader.
    Also, love the “Yeah, so what?” answer about kids hearing about gay couples in school. If talking about homosexuality made someone gay, there would be a lot more gay conservatives than there already are, because that is all they ever seem to talk about.

  • libdevil

    Kinda like some people don’t like homosexuality, or equal rights for everybody? Yeah, so what? I’m just sick of apologizing or running from what Republicans have decided are scary words.

  • akibare

    I think some of the hysteria about teaching kids about same-sex marriages in elementary school is due to opponents instantly jumping from “same-sex marriages” to “ZOMG, buttsex!!!!” when they hear “same-sex relationship” or “homosexuality.” From there it goes to “I don’t want my child learning about SEX in the classroom.”
    This “same-sex relationships are all about the SEX!!” view is part of the problem.
    Kids are “taught” about heterosexual marriages in school only insofar as they see books with statistically normal “one woman, one man, married, with kids” families in them, they know many such families (again, just due to statistics). They see, “okay, a mom, a dad, they run a household together, and there’s some kids.” Mom loves Dad (ideally) but even kids who know “how babby is formed” don’t obsess over the sex aspect, I don’t think. Parents run the household and love their kids. Yes, they have sex, but that’s not the main thing a kid is usually thinking about when they see “family.”
    So really, “teaching about” same-sex marriages should just be that similar thing, “see, there’s two women, they run a household together, and there’s some kids.” “A dad, another dad, and the kids.” Dad loves Dad (ideally) and they both love the kids, but again, I doubt the kids are obsessing over the sex aspect. They see their Dads (or Moms) being affectionate I’m sure, just as heterosexual parent pairs often kiss and make goo-goo eyes in front of the kids. But it’s adults making that other leap.

  • aleks

    That’s wonderful. Now if you can just convince the voting public that socialism and taxes aren’t scary you’ll be set.

  • http://thefutureofconservatism.wordpress.com thefutureofconservatism.wordpress.com

    Parents just don’t want their kids being taught that homosexuality and heterosexuality are the equivalents of each other. These are political issues, and I don’t think that schools should really be teaching children to take sides in them.
    If you’d like to teach about political issues, maybe we can teach about them in biology class too. We can tell children that the difference between maternal infanticide and abortion is that abortion (unlike maternal infanticide) simply did not exist to be selected against during the vast majority of human evolution – so we never developed any innate negative feelings towards it. But other than that, they’re the same thing.
    How about it?
    But you know what I think would actually be a really good idea? Since comprehensive sex ed is supposed to be comprehensive, it should teach that contraception and abortion are essentially the same, and that if you would never have an abortion, you should not use any form of hormonal contraception either. They should have lots and lots of pictures of early abortions, and clearly instruct everyone in the class that using hormonal contraception or having sex with someone who uses it is just a less icky way of doing the same thing.

  • alawyer

    And still, I wish that when opponents of equal rights say, “My child will be taught about same-sex marriage in public schools,” activists won’t answer, “That won’t happen.” but rather, “Yes. So what?”

    I like the idea too. But is it the strategy most likely to win? I don’t know.

  • kittycat

    I would LOVE it if all churches lost their tax-exempt status. Now THAT would boost the economy!

  • aleks

    TFOC isn’t deliberately lying, he’s about 10 years old and parroting the lies he’s being told.

  • aleks

    “Yeah, fuck you” didn’t work very well fighting Prop8.

  • nomen-nescio.myopenid.com

    Wouldn’t that involve taking away tax exempt status not only from all authentically Christian churches,

    even if that were true, would it really be that bad of an idea?

  • nomen-nescio.myopenid.com

    Parents just don’t want their kids being taught that homosexuality and heterosexuality are the equivalents of each other.

    some parents don’t want their kids taught the world is 4.5 thousand million years old, either. that’s nevertheless true, also.