BALTIMORE (BP) — Legalizing gay marriage will lead to it being taught as normative in elementary schools, according to new TV ads in three states where the issue is on the ballot.
The 30-second advertisements in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota all feature a couple, David and Tonia Parker, who live in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal.
“After Massachusetts redefined marriage, local schools taught it to children in second grade, including the school our son attended,” David Parker says to the camera. “Courts ruled parents have no right to take their children out of class — or to even be informed when this instruction was going to take place.”
In the Maryland version of the ad, Tonia Parker then says: “If Question 6 passes, same-sex marriage could be taught in local Maryland schools, just as it was in Massachusetts. Don’t make the same mistake and think that gay marriage won’t affect you.”
The Parkers’ story is true. In 2006, two years after gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts, the teacher in their son’s second-grade class read the students “King & King” — a story about a prince who searches for a wife, only to choose another prince as his husband. The Parkers and another couple filed a lawsuit in federal court against the school, but a lower court ruled against them, asserting that “diversity is a hallmark of our nation” and that such diversity “includes differences in sexual orientation.” An appeals court upheld the decision.
Maryland residents are voting on Question 6 while Maine voters are considering Question 1. Passage of either one will legalize gay marriage; traditional groups are urging a “no” vote. Out West, Washington state citizens will vote on Referendum 74, which also would legalize gay marriage if passed.
In Minnesota, pro-family groups are urging a “yes” vote on Amendment 1, which would amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Meanwhile, President Obama — who supports same-sex marriage — has endorsed the pro-gay marriage initiatives in Maine, Maryland and Washington.
“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” his campaign press secretary for Washington and Oregon was quoted as saying in Reuters.
Both sides of the debate in Maryland have put together radio ads aimed at persuading African American voters, who are considered key to the race. One ad — supported by gay marriage backers — features two women talking about the presidential election when the discussion turns to gay marriage. One woman then uses her phone to play a clip of Obama talking about the issue.
After hearing the clip the other woman says, “I’d always kinda been on the fence, but Obama makes it so simple: it’s about fairness — treating everyone equal under the law.”
The Maryland Marriage Alliance has countered with its own ad featuring Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr. She urges Marylanders to vote no on Question 6.
“I believe that the NAACP leadership and gay rights activists have formed an unholy alliance by trying to convince you and me that marriage should be redefined. We did not define marriage and we cannot redefine marriage. Marriage, by definition, is a holy union between one man and one woman. … Some preachers are saying that gay marriage is inevitable and that they want to be on the right side of history. Well, I believe that we are on the right side of history — and the right side of eternity.
King concludes: “Support marriage as God’s holy union between one man and one woman. Vote against Question 6.”
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).