Marriage is not school's responsibility

Will same-sex marriage be taught in schools, if it becomes legal in Maine? No — nothing in law, or curriculum, mandates any Maine student be taught about marriage, same-sex or otherwise.

Should same-sex marriage be taught?

Again, the answer is no. Marriage should not be part of a curriculum. Either as a secular tradition or a religious sacrament, marriage is better left to families to teach, or provide examples of.

A school is not responsible for teaching marriage to kids. What should be taught is respect and tolerance for all peoples, a founding tenet of our society. Schools would do our children and civilization a disservice if they couldn't perform this function.

Yet supporters of repealing same-sex marriage say, in a new advertisement, that upholding same-sex marriage would result in "homosexual marriage" taught "whether parents like it or not."

This claim is rooted in a landmark federal case, Parker v. Hurley, which arose when parents in Lexington, Mass., sued their school district after books depicting same-sex relationships were introduced to children, once Massachusetts lawmakers approved same-sex marriages.

A federal court, in 2008, upheld the school's actions. It cited the distinction between the rights of parents and school curricula, saying public schools walk a "tightrope between the many competing constitutional demands made by parents, students, teachers and ... other constituents."

At the heart of that case, however, was coercion. The offended parents claimed that offering these books was akin to indoctrination that intended to instill positive opinions about same-sex marriages in their children, which was counter to the parents' own outlook.

The court found no link between education and indoctrination in Parker v. Hurley. In its decision, the court identified a clear difference between the teachings of tolerance and respect, and the forced affirmation of a relationship some find objectionable.

The first is laudable and the second should be avoided. It was in Massachusetts. And it should be in Maine, regardless of what's decided in November.

In fact, the court's decision states the plaintiff parents were indeed deeply offended, and can seek recourse through their local school boards or state legislature.

This same privilege would be extended to any person in Maine, if materials deemed offensive by parents were presented to children. Insinuating, then, Parker v. Hurley would make "homosexual marriage" a part of Maine academics stretches the facts of the case.

It only would if there was a significant alteration of Maine's current academic curriculum and laws, which the pending marriage legislation does not prescribe.

What Parker v. Hurley says is districts may offer material depicting same-sex relationships, and that offering this material does not infringe the constitutional rights of parents. It doesn't say this material will be taught, or that parents are helpless if the prospect arises.

And neither does Maine law.

editorialboard@sunjournal.com

 

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Comments

Melissa  Dunn's picture

IT'S A SCARE TACTIC-NOTHING

IT'S A SCARE TACTIC-NOTHING MORE...

TIME HASN'T CHANGED MUCH FROM WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL AND ALL SCHOOL TAUGHT IN SEX-ED WAS ABOUT OUR VERY OWN BODIES/GENITALIA. THEY DIDN'T TALK ABOUT MARRIAGE PERIOD.

I DO ADMIT THAT AT THIS DAY AND LIVING IN AMERICA-SOME STILL DON'T STAND FOR EQUALITY AND FREEDOM (WHATEVER THAT MIGHT BE).

EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE!

Mark Wrenn's picture

Either way the vote goes,

Either way the vote goes, you're wrong to think it ends in November.
______________________

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Andrew MacIsaac's picture

It should be done here as it

It should be done here as it is in other places in the world, i.e. The Netherlands.

The church may perform (or not perform) marriages as it sees fit. If a church performs a marriage, the state does not recognize that union. It was a religious ceremony, not a civil proceeding. The state recognizing the church's marriage is tantamount to me calling myself a judge, appointing some jurors, pronouncing you guilty, and demanding that the state puts you in jail.

If you want to have the state recognize your union, then you must participate in a civil proceeding. If you want the church to recognize your marriage then you must have a religious ceremony. That the state vests power in a religious institution is ridiculous and possibly unconstitutional.

Marriage is a religious concept. Civil union existed long before marriage did. The pursuit of happiness is a right that should not be impeded by government or the church. Judgement of other people is reserved by God, for himself.

Mark Wrenn's picture

The bigots and intolerant

The bigots and intolerant are easily swayed by half truths and outright lies.
______________________

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Stephen Bolduc's picture

Sometimes I think that all

Sometimes I think that all these people have is lies and/or deception to offer in order to enforce their opinions. It's time that we, as citizens stood up to the lies of these folks. If they feel that they want to live in a country ruled by religious doctrine, maybe they should move to country where that is the case. If they feel that their churches should be making the laws, then their churches should lose their tax excempt status.

Mark Wrenn's picture

I'm thinking Iran would be a

I'm thinking Iran would be a good place...
______________________

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

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