News Articles

Educators present evidence refuting
claims made by NEA on ‘gay marriage’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Members of the Conservative Educators Caucus within the National Education Association have mounted evidence to refute claims made by NEA leadership regarding the union’s stance on “gay marriage” in the wake of the NEA’s recent annual meeting.

During the June 29-July 5 meeting in Orlando, Fla., the NEA amended its B-10 resolution on “racism, sexism, sexual orientation and gender identification discrimination” which said in part, “Discrimination and stereotyping based on such factors as race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation and religion must be eliminated,” by adding the following paragraph:

“The Association also believes that these factors should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally recognized domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner, such as medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.”

Conservatives within the NEA opposed the adopted language because it appears to endorse “gay marriage,” civil unions and domestic partnerships in the states where such arrangements are legal. Nationwide interest in the matter was raised by an e-mail from the American Family Association sent to the group’s 3 million supporters June 19, days before the NEA was to convene.

Andy Linebaugh, director of public relations for the NEA, told Baptist Press July 10 that the resolution on discrimination passed by the union was not intended to endorse “gay marriage” or similar arrangements in the states where the practice is legal.

“NEA has not taken a position on same-sex marriage,” Linebaugh said.

Currently, seven states have some form of legal recognition for homosexual couples. Massachusetts allows “gay marriage,” Vermont and Connecticut have civil unions, California has domestic partnerships and the District of Columbia, Maine, New Jersey and Hawaii have laws that grant same-sex couples at least some of the legal benefits of marriage.

The B-10 resolution was a toned-down version of resolution language that originally drew concern from conservatives. Packets mailed to the 9,000 NEA delegates in early June included a preliminary report from the NEA resolutions committee marked on the front cover with the words “This is the official copy of the proposed resolutions for vote by the 2006 NEA Representative Assembly, Orlando, FL.”

Within the preliminary report was a proposed amendment to resolution B-8 on diversity. The B-8 resolution says in part, “Similarities and differences among races, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, geographic location, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, physical ability, size, occupation, and marital, parental or economic status form the fabric of a society.”

The NEA resolutions committee, according to the document mailed to delegates, proposed that the following language be added to the B-8 resolution: “The association believes that legal rights and responsibilities with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, legal immigration, domestic partnerships, and civil unions and/or marriage belong to all of these diverse groups and individuals.”

At least one delegate tipped off the AFA on the proposed language, which explicitly supported “gay marriage,” and the AFA called attention to it.

“The NEA website had the same language [that was] mailed to the delegates [regarding] the B-8 diversity amendment stating civil unions and/or marriage as a legal right of all diversity groups,” recounted Jeralee Smith, a California teacher and co-founder of the CEC, a group of about 50 members seeking to uphold traditional values within the NEA. “This language was viewable on NEA’s website until [the] day after the AFA e-mail was distributed.”

But Linebaugh told Baptist Press July 10 that the AFA’s e-mail had no effect on the NEA’s decision to adopt the amendment to B-10 instead of B-8 because the B-8 language was scrapped several months ago.

“The language that was drafted and subsequently went into B-10 was drafted in late March and early April, so whatever incendiary comments that the American Family Association put out in a press release with erroneous information did not have any impact on the decision by the NEA delegates to accept this resolution,” Linebaugh said.

The delegate who requested months before the annual meeting that the B-8 language be inserted later realized that the point would be better made as part of B-10, Linebaugh explained.

“The AFA pulled information that came out of a preliminary report by the resolutions committee out of its February meeting. They did not have the rewritten language that was rewritten within a month or six weeks,” he said. “They were basing their news release on old information. So then what happened was, the original maker wanted to address discrimination and nothing else, so it did not fall into the resolution B-8, it fell into the resolution B-10, which addresses discrimination.”

But if the resolutions committee did not intend for delegates to vote on the B-8 language, a correction slip would have been added to the packets mailed in June, members of the Conservative Educators Caucus said. So the way delegates understood it, they would be voting on whether to endorse “gay marriage,” the CEC’s Smith said.

NEA leadership decided just days before the annual meeting to drop the B-8 language in favor of the B-10 amendment.

One way the news broke was through a June 21 e-mail from the president and executive director of the Ohio Education Association sent to the group’s staff and some delegates in order to bring attention to “a malicious e-mail campaign to distort and criticize” — the AFA e-mail.

“There is a new Resolution up for discussion at the July 2006 NEA Representative Assembly that would underscore NEA’s opposition to discrimination in any form,” the Ohio leaders wrote. “On June 29, the NEA Resolutions Committee will consider language that clarifies and reaffirms this anti-discrimination position.”

The e-mail then quoted the proposed amendment to the B-10 resolution.

“NEA has no position on same-sex marriages, and leadership is not seeking to establish such a position,” Reg Weaver, president of the NEA, said in a statement included in the Ohio e-mail.

Conservative Educators Caucus members contend that pre-existing language embedded in NEA policy pointed to an inevitable endorsement of “gay marriage.” Judy Bruns, an Ohio delegate and co-founder of the CEC, noted some of the language and asked questions about it at the resolution committee’s open hearings this year.

Among the questions she raised was one referring to a pre-existing resolution on early childhood education, which says children should be exposed to “diversity-based curricula.” She wanted to know if the words “diversity-based curricula” referred to the list in resolution B-8 that includes sexual orientation and gender identification, and she was told that was correct. That would mean the NEA supports curricula celebrating homosexuality.

Bruns counted a total of 14 NEA resolutions that defend sexual orientation in some way, including resolutions on institutional discrimination, use of prejudicial terms and symbols, sex education and civil rights.

On July 5, Bruns went backstage during the Representative Assembly to speak with Brent McKim, co-chair of the resolutions committee.

“Confused by all the additions, deletions, modifications, etc. that had taken place with resolutions and new business items over the last couple days, I asked Mr. McKim for an understandable explanation of the results of the B-10 amendment (originally introduced as a B-8 amendment),” Bruns wrote in a statement released to Baptist Press.

“He said that B-10 showed NEA’s support for gay marriage in states where it was legalized. I asked (over and over, to make sure he understood my question and that I understood his reply) if NEA supported gay adoption. He said yes, in ‘legal’ states,” Bruns added.

“I wanted to make sure I fully understood the implications of the B-10 amendment, so I asked if as a result of the B-10 amendment, NEA might be made an advocate for legally married gays who wanted to adopt, even if their state did not specifically say they could adopt. The answer was ‘yes,’ that the NEA would be in a position to advocate extending the same rights married heterosexuals have in those states,” Bruns wrote.

Smith and Sissy Jochman, who founded the CEC with Bruns, told Baptist Press the NEA leadership is “backpedaling” and not telling the truth about their support of the homosexual agenda.

“We’ve hit a nerve there and they’re trying to spin out of this,” Jochmann, a Pennsylvania teacher, said. “… In all honesty, I really, really think around eight years ago when they gave the GLBT [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender] Caucus such a foothold in our organization, they gave them an inch and now they’re taking a mile.

“I really believe that the NEA executive leadership is really trying to stop them but they’re so powerful now and they scream ‘discrimination’ and ‘hate speech,’” Jochmann added. “I sense they’re trying to not get into these controversial things, but the GLBT Caucus has just so integrated in all leadership roles throughout the NEA that it’s hard to muzzle them.”

Smith said public school teachers across the nation should be concerned about the NEA’s collaboration with homosexual activists because their union dues are going to support such actions.

“This language does find its way into the legislatures around the country,” she said, “and the NEA political machinery goes to work to get these policies supported on all levels of government.”

Alternatives exist if conservative educators choose not to support the NEA’s leadership direction.

“We have a strong defense if enough Christian public school employees can be convinced of that before it is too late,” Smith told Baptist Press. “Christian public school employees who belong to the NEA or other unions have the constitutional right anywhere in the U.S. to become religious objectors.

“They can take every penny of their dues out of union hands and put it in a charity that the member and union both agree on,” she said. “Christian public school employees who are union members can also get involved with our Conservative Educators Caucus within in the union and help stand up for our principles on the inside.”

The website for the CEC is www.ceccentral.org.

“I believe it is premature to ask Christians to take children out of public schools until we simply stop funding the efforts that are destroying our values,” Smith said.

    About the Author

  • Erin Roach