Ad says gay marriage will be taught in schools; Maine officials disagree

LEWISTON — An advertisement alleging that gay marriage will be taught in schools unless the new law allowing same-sex marriages is repealed this fall is being refuted by education officials.

"Seeing as there is nothing in Maine education law or rule that even
mentions marriage, I think it's quite unlikely that changing the rules
about marriage would encourage anyone to change what they are teaching
in the classroom," said David Connerty-Marin, spokesman for the Maine
Department of Education. 

The television ad, paid for by the Stand for Marriage Maine campaign, features a couple from Massachusetts, Robb and Robin Wirthlin. They tell the story of how their 7-year-old son's teacher read a book to the class about one prince marrying another prince.

"We knew that (same-sex marriage) was legal in Massachusetts; we just didn't know there would be teachers promoting it in school," said Robin Wirthlin during a conference call with reporters. The Wirthlins filed an unsuccessful lawsuit aimed at stopping public schools from teaching about gay marriage.

Heidi Guarino, chief of staff for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said parents have an opt-out option and the department encourages schools to be flexible. She said she had not heard complaints from parents echoing the concerns of the Wirthlins.

The ad also features Charla Bansley, an English teacher at a private Christian school in Orrington, though she is only identified in the commercial as a teacher from Ellsworth, which is where she lives.

"If (the bill allowing same-sex marriage) becomes law, it takes away more rights than it gives, the right to religious freedom and parental control," she said to reporters. "It's true that (the bill) doesn't specifically mention education, but neither did the Massachusetts law."

Bansley is also the Maine state director for a group called Concerned Women for America. She has been speaking out against the bill for months.

When asked if she was getting paid by the campaign, spokesman Scott Fish said, "I think not, but I don't know for sure."

Jesse Connolly, campaign manager for the No on 1/Protect Marriage Equality campaign, said schools already deal with the fact that children come to school from families with different beliefs.

"To say that gay marriage is going to be taught in school is totally, 100 percent false in my opinion," he said. "There are gay and lesbian families in Maine that have kids in public schools, so if you're asking if those families are already acknowledged in the classroom or by teachers, then I would say yes. But that has nothing to do with this campaign or this bill."

Connerty-Marin said the state has broad guidelines for what must be taught in public schools; local school boards are responsible for creating specific curricula.

"There is nothing that would prohibit a teacher — two years ago, 10 years ago or a year from now — from reading a book to your child that you don't like," he said. "Your recourse would be to talk to your child's teacher, principal, superintendent or school board and ultimately work to change policies or change the people who sit on that school board if you don't agree with those."

Lewiston School Committee Chairman Thomas Shannon said that when local concerns arise, the committee tries to work with parents to provide the "best educational experience for students."

"Nobody is here to force somebody's beliefs on someone else," he said. He added that issues dealing with "gender-specific things" are going to come up at some point, regardless of the outcome of this fall's referendum on the gay marriage law.

"I want every student to be able to be comfortable in school and if the use of a textbook is offensive to a family, I certainly believe that a teacher could find a different book to support the lesson," Shannon said.

He said parents have the right to pull their children out of lessons or discussions in which they don't want them to participate.

Frank Schubert, a consultant hired by the Stand for Marriage Maine campaign, said it is a concern that the people of Maine must rely on local school boards to make curriculum decisions.

"The local school boards will have tremendous influence, obviously, over the curriculum," he said. "That means it is out of the hands of parents, out of the hands of voters on a statewide basis and that is a concern and it's certainly something people need to be aware of."

Fish, spokesman for the Stand for Marriage Maine campaign, said, "If there's ever been a group or governmental entity unresponsive to parents, it's school boards."

rmetzler@sunjournal.com

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Comments

What would our founding

What would our founding fathers think about people using religion to make law?

"The Government of the United States is NOT, in ANY sense, founded on the Christian Religion." -- John Adams

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."
-Thomas Jefferson, Dec. 6, 1813.

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."-Thomas Jefferson, February 10, 1814

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own." -TJ Mar 17, 1814

"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."-TJ 30 July, 1816

"... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."-TJ Jan. 1, 1802

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." William Pitt

Melissa  Dunn's picture

kudos hon! =] kudos!

kudos hon! =] kudos!

Mary Nolette's picture

Wow...this discussion is

Wow...this discussion is full of awesome and although it was tough to choose, Sammie wins for his post which I'll title "OMG I have no idea what I'm talking about".

Melissa  Dunn's picture

HAHA! I NEEDED THAT GOOD

HAHA! I NEEDED THAT GOOD LAUGH HONEY!

Melissa  Dunn's picture

QUEENHONEEYBEE BUT IT'S

QUEENHONEEYBEE

BUT IT'S MELISSA BTW =]

Melissa  Dunn's picture

NAME CALLING... HMMM... I

NAME CALLING... HMMM...

I DO NOT HATE, I AM NOT A BIGOT, AND THE ONLY THING THAT I FIND INTOLERABLE IS HUMANS BEING ILL-WILL TOWARDS OTHERS AND CONTINUING TO HATE, DISCRIMINATE, AND BE PREJUDICE.

MY POST WASN'T REALLY FOCUSED ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, BUT RATHER US-AS HUMAN BEINGS AND THE WORDS WE CHOOSE. PEOPLE ARE HARSH. I.E. SUCH AS ABOVE.

YOU'RE GOING TO VOTE HOW YOU WANT TO VOTE AND THAT COOL WITH ME. =]

Melissa  Dunn's picture

AGAIN-ASIDE FROM THE

AGAIN-ASIDE FROM THE SAME-SEX ISSUE UP FOR BALLOT.... ASIDE FROM HOMOSEXUALS...

THE WORDS WE CHOOSE AS HUMANS PORTRAY US.

FROM A BLACK PRESIDENT TO SOMALIANS IN MY HOMETOWN (THAT I WELCOME, BUT MOST DO NOT!!!) TO A PERSON'S RELIGION, OR MAYBE EVEN HOW THEY LOOK OR DRESS... MOST PEOPLE HAVE SOMETHING CRUEL, HATEFUL, DEMEANING, PREJUDICE, DISCRIMINATE TOWARDS THEM.

WHEN ALL THE WHILE-WE ALL HAVE FAULTS. THERE IS NO HIGH HORSE. WE ARE IN THE WRONG FOR THE WORDS AND HATE WE SO CHOOSE. BUT SOMEHOW-THOSE SAME PEOPLE CAN NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS AND MAYBE, JUST MAYBE SEE HOW THEY ARE ACTING.

THIS IS NOT BECOMING OF A PERSON(S) WHO JUMPS TO CONCLUSIONS AND BASHES PEOPLE.

Mark Wrenn's picture

You still getting your made

You still getting your made up stats from the hate group? The one where the researcher was thrown out of his professional organization?
______________________

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

Melissa  Dunn's picture

EITHER WAY IN MY BOOK-THESE

EITHER WAY IN MY BOOK-THESE RISKS AND CHANCES HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO AFFECT EVERYONE GAY-STRAIGHT-ASEXUAL... DISEASE IS NOT BIASED, IT DOES PREFER OVER THE OTHER... IT HAPPENS. NOT TOLERATING DANGEROUS LIFESTYLE HABITS FROM GAYS? BUT WHAT ABOUT STRAIGHTS? GAY OR STRAIGHT-SOME PEOPLE LIFE RISKY LIFESTYLES DUE TO THE BLEEPED UP CHILDHOOD THEY HAD, TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES THAT THEY'VE HAD TO ENDURE, OR GENETICS. WHERE IS THE COMPASSION AND LOVE FOR THE 'CHILD' THAT NEEDED GOOD PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES, OR LOVING PEOPLE, OR NOT MENTALLY ILL? LOL! CAN'T HELP THAT HONEY!

IT IS UP TO US AS CARING, LOVING PEOPLE AND PARENTS TO INSTILL GOOD VALUES AMONGST OUR CHILDREN TO PROTECT THEMSELVES WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO SEX, LIFE, FINANCES, DRUGS-THERE IS NO PLACING BLAME ON SOMEONES SEXUALITY. ALL TOO OFTEN-KIDS ARE NOT GIVING THE RIGHT INFORMATION BY THEIR PARENTS ABOUT SEX AND DISEASES. ITS A GREAT TOPIC TO TALK ABOUT. THERE SHOULD BE NO REASON FOR A CHILD TO NOT GET INFORMED ABOUT SEX BY THEIR PARENTS. ABSTINENCE IS THE KEY. ITS IMPORTANT AS A PARENT TO BE FULLY KNOWLEDGEABLE AND DISCUSS THESE ISSUES TO PREVENT THEM FROM GETTING STDS, PREVENT THEM FROM NOT USING DRUGS, OR EVEN TEACHING THEM NOT TO HATE-NO MATTER HOW MUCH A PARENT DOES NOT WANT TO. ITS NOT OKAYING THE BEHAVIOR-BUT RATHER SHOWING THAT 'I AM A CARING PARENT AND THAT THEY GET THE INFORMATION FROM ME TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.'

CHILDREN ARE BORN GAY, THEY'RE NOT INFLUENCED. WHEN YOU CAN LOOK AT A TODDLER AND THINK SOMETHING IS OFF BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO PLAY WITH WHAT BOYS PLAY WITH OR GIRLS-WHAT GIRLS PLAY WITH-AND YOU KNOW THEN! THEY ARE NOT INFLUENCED.

AS FAR AS MENTAL ILLNESS-THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING MENTALLY ILL. IT EFFECTS AMERICANS AND PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD. MENTAL ILLNESS ISN'T BIASED. IT DOESN'T SAY ITS GOING TO GO FOR THIS PERSON MORE THAN THE OTHER. ITS A SERIOUS ISSUE THAT PEOPLE LIKE TO MAKE LIGHT OF. I FEAR THAT THIS ALONE-AND HAVING A CHILD OR PERSON QUESTION WHO THEY ARE AND THEIR SEXUALITY OR A CHILD WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS THAT IS NOT GAY BUT HAS A MENTAL ILLNESS-WITH THIS BELIEF MAY BE POTENTIALLY HARMFUL TO THEIR OWN WELL-BEING IN FEAR OF NOT GETTING THE HELP THEY NEED OR NOT BEING ABLE TO GO TO THEIR PARENT FOR HELP. ITS RUMORS LIKE THESE THAT CAN HAVE DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES.

I ASK AGAIN-WHERE IS THE COMPASSION? UNDERSTANDING? THE PARENTING SKILLS?

Melissa  Dunn's picture

THIS AD IS VERY MISLEADING

THIS AD IS VERY MISLEADING AND USED AS A SCARE TACTIC-NOTHING MORE.

I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT I AM ANGERED BY THE THINGS THAT I'VE HAD TO HEAR FROM THOSE AROUND ME AND ON POSTINGS OR SOCIAL-NETWORKING SITES AND THIS STUPID AD.

THE HATE THAT SO MANY EXPRESS AND THE IGNORANCE THAT THEY TRY TO USE TO INSTILL AMONGST THE CLEAR-HEADED, COMPASSIONATE ONES. IT AMAZES ME HOW IGNORANT PEOPLE REALLY ARE IN OUR SOCIETY.

'PEOPLE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR, BUT FEAR ITSELF'-ITS AN INSECURITY. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE EVEN SAYS GAY OR KNOWS SOMEONE WHO IS GAY-DOESN'T MEAN YOU'RE GOING TO TURN GAY OR YOUR CHILDREN OR WHAT HAVE YOU. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY, BLACK, MUSLIM-WHATEVER IT MAY BE THAT A PERSON IS THAT PEOPLE FEAR. AND BTW THE TERM 'HOMO' IS MEANT IN A RUDE WAY. WE'RE NOT STUPID!

I HOPE THAT SOMEDAY MOST WILL REALIZE THAT THEY ARE CONTINUING HATE, PREJUDICE, DISCRIMINATION TO EFFECT OUR FUTURE AND OUR CHILDREN JUST BY THE WORDS WE CHOOSE TO SAY. WE ALREADY LIVE IN A CRUEL, HATEFUL WORLD? WHY, WHY DO YOU WANT TO CONTINUE THIS METHOD OF MADNESS WHEN ITS ONLY GOING TO HARM THE FUTURE. PEOPLE WANT PEACE IN THE WORLD? BUT THEN THEY SAY HATEFUL, IGNORANT STUFF LIKE THIS?

WHERE IS THE COMPASSION? EMPATHY? RESPECT?

NO ONE CAN CONVINCE ANYONE TO VOTE FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE... YOU'RE GONNA VOTE HOW YOU'RE GONNA VOTE. THE BIGGER PICTURE-THE ISSUE IS HOW RUTHLESS, DISRESPECTFUL, HATEFUL, AND IGNORANT PEOPLE EXPRESS THEMSELVES ON SJ OR ANYWHERE?

I AM HONESTLY ASHAMED TO BE A HUMAN BEING, AN AMERICAN, A MAINER! THIS IS IS DISGUSTING-THE WORDS PEOPLE CHOOSE! JUST DISGUSTING!

Melissa  Dunn's picture

IF PEOPLE WEREN'T SURE-THEN

IF PEOPLE WEREN'T SURE-THEN THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE POSTED ANYTHING AT ALL. TAKE IT HOW THEY WANT IT, REALLY. BUT I CAN GUARANTEE THAT THEIR 'RECOGNITION' HAS TAKEN HERS OUT OF CONTEXT. I'M AM VOTING FOR IT TO BE RECOGNIZED BY THE STATE. TO HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS AMONGST MY NEIGHBORS... EQUALITY FOR ALL!

rec·og·nize (rek??g n?z?)

transitive verb recognized -·nized?, recognizing -·niz?·ing

1. to be aware of as something or someone known before, or as the same as that known to recognize an old friend after many years
2. to know by some detail, as of appearance; identify to recognize a butterfly by its coloring
3. to be aware of the significance of to recognize symptoms
4. to acknowledge the existence, validity, authority, or genuineness of to recognize a claim
5. to accept as a fact; admit; accept to recognize defeat
6. to acknowledge as worthy of appreciation or approval to recognize devotion
7. to acknowledge the legal standing of (a government, state, etc.) by some formal action, as by entering into diplomatic relations
8. to show acquaintance with (a person) by greeting
9. ? to acknowledge as having the right to speak, as in a meeting

 's picture

Then school your child at

Then school your child at home. That makes more sense than discriminating against a significant portion of the population.

Melissa  Dunn's picture

W-O-W!!!

W-O-W!!!

Terry Wood's picture

I am appalled that some

I am appalled that some would believe such hokum. Most Christians, believe what was taught by Jesus, not what is in the "Old Testement" Jesus taught us to love our fellow man, not trash him as un worthy of God's love. Random, go back and read the new testement. That is what is supposed top be taught top Christians. Now, I also believe that God is a Loving God, that He hates no one. Christian churches that preach hate are not Christian.

Wow, glad you pointed out 29

Wow, glad you pointed out 29 and 30, you fit quite a bit of that pretty well.

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." William Pitt

Mark Wrenn's picture

Matthew 7:12 So in

Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
______________________

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

Kids already know about all

Kids already know about all the things that paranoid parents are to scared to talk about. The people that are freaking out are the same one's that say "my little johnny couldn't have done something bad, I know him better than that" while little johnny is pummeling the crud out of a kid at school. For those of you still freaking out, chew on this: If we acknowledge the fact that two people love each other (no need to allow it, it's already there) we then allow billions of extra dollars into our economy in wedding planning alone. Think about it, venue rentals, limos, tux's, dresses, cakes, rings, caterers, booze, and on and on. Why are you trying to keep the economy down?? To end, to those still paranoid, there are LGBT clubs in almost every school and your kids are in class and around gay kids every day. Get over yourselves.

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." William Pitt

"You people"??? LOL! Random,

"You people"??? LOL! Random, I'm married to a man, and I'm a woman. This isn't about you people. This IS about hypocrites shoving their religion down everyone's throats and expecting us not to choke. If you want to continue to thump your bible, try reading it. The only place it says anything about man lying with man is in Leviticus, if we must abide by that then you must abide by the rest of what it says:
Leviticus chapters 1 - 10
are directions on gutting, slaughtering, and sacrificing animals at the door of the church, and then putting the blood on and around the alter. Then you must burn the animal, all for your simple sins.
Leviticus chapter 18
has 1 line after 15 commands to not uncover nakedness from your mother all the way to your neighbors wife,"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination."
Leviticus 19
has a few that everyone breaks:
16Thou shalt not go up and down [as] a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I [am] the LORD.
19Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.
27Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
Leviticus 20
9For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood [shall be] upon him. (time to put your teenagers to death)
Leviticus 25
3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: [for] it is a year of rest unto the land.
(farmers cannot do anything every 7 years!)
29 And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; [within] a full year may he redeem it. (so if you buy a house, and within a year the old owners want it back you HAVE to sell it back to them)
Let me know when your going to start slaughtering animals at your church door, I'll bring the red dogs.
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." William Pitt

Mark Wrenn's picture

Home school them. Teach 'em

Home school them. Teach 'em all the hate you want.
______________________

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

 's picture

JayBee; "The rest of us

JayBee; "The rest of us would like to live in modern times, thank you very much." What does this mean? What exactly do you mean by "modern times"?

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

I remember before the ads

I remember before the ads aginst gay rights saying that if the law passes the gays will fight for marriage next and gay parades and you will have to pay for thier sex changes, and etc. and the Gay rights activists shouting this is all hogwash and lies they only want the right to live freely without being discriminated for housing and jobs and such, Now here we are folks so if you think it will not be taught then think again it will be. They wish to say being Gay is natural and should be welcomed and and therefore should be taught so as to instill in our children that if you have feelings for another of the same sex then it is alright to act on those feelings as it would be encouraged to do so. These Slimy politicians are our worse enemies someday the people will wake up and realize it!

Licia Kuenning's picture

Obviously a change in the

Obviously a change in the legal definition of "marriage" will affect what children are told in schools and elsewhere. The kids will now be told that certain homosexual couples are "married," whereas before they were not told that. The subject will inevitably come up--it doesn't have to be in the formal curriculum for that to happen. I am astonished at the denial on this subject--does anyone really think that children are unconscious of what everybody else is talking about?

Mark Wrenn's picture

If same sex marriage is

If same sex marriage is allowed, would you prefer the kids be lied to?
______________________

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

 's picture

The "offensive" book could

The "offensive" book could have been read in Maine yesterday. There is nothing to stop it. So don't use that as an excuse for parental laziness in keeping up with what's going on in the schools.

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