Prop 8 exploiting children, parents say. Plus a truth check on their ad.

Proposition 8 proponents in California have a despicable new ad using images of children from a San Francisco field trip in which children were taken to see the wedding of a teacher with her same-sex partner. The Prop 8 proponents are using that to suggest that kids will be taught somehow about sex (gay sex) early on in school. Now, anyone with a half a brain realizes that (a) children on all field trips are required to have a parental consent form signed by a parent or a guardian, and (b) no one teaches about sex in first grade.

But the crocodile tears the prop 8 proponents are crying for children has turned a new angle: the parents of the children shown in the ad are understandably horrified, angry and upset at the use of their children as political football. Prop 8, of course, showing all of its concern for children, refused to take the ad down or remove the images of the children from those ads. So much for them crying about "Oh, who will think of the children!"
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Yes on Prop 8 battle has enlisted children as its new weapon and some parents are incensed.
Images from a same-sex wedding held two weeks ago at San Francisco City Hall are now being used by gay marriage opponents in the latest commercial for Proposition 8.

The parents of two children featured in a Yes on Prop 8 video have written two letters to Yes on Prop 8, asking Proposition 8 to voluntarily drop their kids' images from that new television ad.
The Yes on 8 campaign is using and abusing these kids as they pretend to care about children. They cannot stand the idea that somehow, someway, children from all families - families with a mom and a dad, families with a mom and a mom, families with a dad and a dad, families with a single dad, families with a single mom, and yes, even families with a single mom and a grandpa and a grandma (ahem, a certain transformational presidential candidate comes to mind) - will be safe and welcome in our public schools, but they have no problem using the images of young children in their ads without the consent of their parents.
The parents put this succinctly:
"Our children are being exploited and used as pawns to further a political cause...We ask that you intervene immediately on our behalf and issue a cease and desist letter to the Yes on 8 campaign. If the campaign does not remove the ad, we ask that you pursue legal action against them."

Added Jen Press: "Prop 8 claims to be about families, but we’re here to say you can’t be for families by attacking our families. You can’t be for families and take these children’s innocent images and flash them not only on television statewide, but on your fund raising page. This must stop right now."
The parents also asked the San Francisco Chronicle to enforce their ownership of the video images originally taken of the children. Watch the press statements from the parents:

But, you ask, is there any there there? The simple answer is, NO.

I decided to dig deep into this horrific ad and desperate last ditch attempt from the mean-spirited anti-equality forces, and see what in the world they were talking about in the ad. The ad begins with calling California Superintendent of Public Education, Jack O'Connell, essentially a liar.

Here is the screen of the ad that pops up with the websites of the California Department of Education that they got the ads from. The yellow highlight is mine, and was not in the original ad.

Websites in Yes Ad
So here are the two websites quoted:
Are 96% of schools "required to teach about marriage?" No. According to the FAQ page,
How many schools provide comprehensive sexual health education, even though it is not mandated?
According to Sex Education in California Public Schools (PDF; Outside Source) (survey conducted PB Consulting, 2003), 96 percent of California school districts provide comprehensive sexual health education.
96% of California school districts provide comprehensive sex education. That is not the same as 96% of California public schools. First of all, 96% of schools are not necessarily contained in 96% of the districts. Second, all schools in all districts do not necessarily teach sex ed.

So if school districts choose to provide comprehensive sex ed, what are they required to teach (emphases mine)?
Education Code (EC) 51933 (Outside Source) specifies that school districts are not required to provide comprehensive sexual health education, but if they choose to do so, they shall comply with all of the requirements listed below.

Comprehensive sexual health education instruction shall be age-appropriate and bias-free, and all factual information shall be medically accurate and objective. Instruction shall be appropriate for students of all genders, sexual orientations, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and it shall be accessible for English language learner students and students with disabilities. Instruction shall encourage communication between students and their families and shall teach respect for marriage and committed relationships.

In addition, in grades seven to twelve, instruction shall include all of the following: information about the value of abstinence; information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including all Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-approved methods of reducing the risk of contracting STDs; information about all FDA-approved methods of contraception, including emergency contraception; information about California’s newborn abandonment law (Safe Surrender Law EC 51933 [12]) (Outside Source) and Penal Code 271.5 (Outside Source) and skills for making responsible decisions about sexuality.
"Respect for marriage and committed relationships" is required in sex ed, and the requirements only apply from junior high on. I am not quite sure what is wrong with teaching respect for marriage and committed relationships (unless one believes that one makeup of a couple in a committed relationship should be taught and the other should not), but if parents don't like it, they have the last word still:
  1. Do parents and/or guardians need to be informed if their child is to receive sex education or HIV/STD instruction?
Yes. The law recognizes that while parents and guardians support the teaching of medically accurate, comprehensive sex education in schools, they have the ultimate responsibility for teaching their children about human sexuality; they may choose to withdraw their children from this instruction.
Then, they try to scare people by quoting from a release from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, claiming that it says that sex education is "not subject to parental notice and opt out laws." Well, I will let you see the whole quote in context, from the ad, before they drop the top three lines

The whole quote reads,
Instructions or materials that discuss gender, sexual orientation or family life and DO NOT DISCUSS HUMAN REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS AND THEIR FUNCTION is not subject to the parental notice and opt-out laws.
That is, the NCLR is saying that classes that don't discuss sexual organs and their use may not be subject to parental notice and opt-out laws. That is, non-sex-ed classes. If a history class happens to discuss Strom Thurmond and his mistress, we want kids to get a parental consent form? Really?

In other words, the bottom line still is that opponents of marriage equality are lying. Vote NO on 8 and support equality.


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