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10/22/2009

Hey America: There is no Mass. public school scare!

by Jeremy Hooper

In two states now, we have allowed the anti-gay side to use the Wirthlins, one of the two sets of parents (the Parkers being the other) who chose to take their family's personal, faith-based opposition to pro-gay children's books and turn it into a national "incident." Just a refresher:

A ridiculous, frivolous case that has been rejected in court. Obviously public schools that are supported by tax dollars have a right to address all families. Religious parents have a right to teach whatever they want at home, and the right to homeschool or choose a faith-based institution for their kids. But they don't have a right to shame Jenny and Bobby that they or their gay loved ones are wrong.

But the real question we have: Why has nobody brought up the flip side of this issue. That is: That in the 5+ years that the Bay State has had state-level marriage equality, there are still only two sets of parents who have complained about curriculum that respects LGBT families! That means that countless thousands of children, and countless thousands more parents, have gone about life without any need or reason to feel slighted by the 'moness in their midst. And it's certainly not because the Wirthlins and the Parkers are the only ones willing to come forward. In this "balloon boy" age, Americans are more ready and willing than ever to take their family stories public. This is especially true in the world of "culture war" politics, where many faith-based folks feel it is their God-bound duty to publicly speak out. So why, then, are we not hearing from all of the "tainted" families? Why are the martyrs so few that we know them by name, appearance, and constantly repeated talking points?

The obvious reason: Because there is no "epidemic" of distraught Massachusetts parents! The vast majority of Massachusetts parents are either happy that their state has become a more inclusive place, or at the very least, are understanding of why their personal faith views cannot be injected into the public school classroom. Sure, there are probably some would-be Wirthlins and Parkers who have never found a way to gain traction. But there are not many. If there were, these anti-equality groups, who have never met a situation that they wouldn't beat down our throats, would have them on-air faster than you can say Schubert-Flint! But they know that we are watching, and that we will dig and verify any family that they put forth. So the story has to hold some semblance of water, no matter how unmeritous it may be. And the simple truth: There just are not that many of these kinds of stories that have occurred in Massachusetts over the past half-decade!

This "problem" in Massachusetts schools is kind of like the "ex-gay" movement. Our opposition wants you to believe that both the "former homosexuals" and the "enraged bay state parents" are simply busting the seams of America's fabric. In actuality, both the Wirthlins and the gay folks who found their sexuality to be worthless are part of a teeny tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny minority. And in using this fact, our side can finally go on the reasoned, priccipled offensive in this overwrought debate. Rather than respond for the umpteenth time to Robb and Robin's rehashed theatrics, let's start talking about how extremely outnumbered they are. Our opposition LOVES to use majority numbers to embolden their cause -- why don't we start using our obvious majority support on this matter of inclusive education? And unlike our opposition, our majority support is also on the right side of history, so unlike them, we won't have the burden of answering to the countless other times throughout the world's span when a 50%+1 number was used to give bias or discrimination a pass. Our stance is the enlightened destination, not the unfortunate foot-drag.

**Here's an earlier Wirthlin video (wherein, peculiarly, the Wirthlins are wearing almost the exact same clothing). Be sure to note that in this video, a more truthful Robin Wirthlin specifically comes out and says that her family is against homosexuality and that they want to teach their children that such is not "correct behavior": My children -- MY CHILDREN! -- were encouraged to [:: fights back tears ::] accept others [G-A-Y]

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Your thoughts

Have they never heard of home-schooling or private religious based schools??? I have a cousin who is just as bigoted, but they chose to send their kids to catholic schools. This way the kids were exposed to what the parents WANTED them exposed to. It wasn't cheap and they struggled like hell to do it financially, but they did it!

The Wirthlin's just want to force their beleifs on the whole world. "It's my way or the highway." That arrogant self-righteous attitude chaps my butt!

Posted by: John | Oct 22, 2009 1:01:52 PM

And John, of course the truly galling thing about their refusal to acknowledge private schooling, is that they can and do bar us, shame us, and condemn us in these kinds of institutions. We go along with that, because most of us on the progressive side of the fence support their right to have their religious beliefs (as long as they aren't accepting certain funding). But this doesn't make them happy enough. Instead, they want to shame us in public schooling as well.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 22, 2009 1:18:29 PM

I've said this all along, those who oppose us are really a small minority.

I noticed it at a marriage equality hearing a couple years back. It was the first time NOM made a splash. They actually bused people in from around the region for that one.

Of course the first year I go to a hearing and Maggie "The Loathesome" Gallagher is testifying. Great inward groan and the most astounding amount of self control I've ever exerted over myself. I really wanted to punch her in the face.

Posted by: Tony P | Oct 22, 2009 11:16:03 PM

I hope this post gets widely read. It's spot on. At some point, the rejoinder to the Wirthlins has got to become a dismissive "Yawn, we've already seen way too much of this couple, who else've ya' got?"

Strike that. Why only a rejoinder? We shouldn't need an invitation, and should bring up the Wirthlins ourselves and pose your question at every opportunity - "Really, that's it? One lone couple? Good grief, not much to show after 5 years, is it?"

One thing I really liked about Shenna's performance in the TV5 debate was all the stories of real Mainers she was able to bring up to illustrate her arguments.

What I liked the least is how Bob didn't get called out for the everything-but-marriage malarkey that both he and Mutty plead for whenever they're asked why they're in favor of discrimination. Neither of these guys has ever been in favor of everything-but-marriage until now. How convenient.

Posted by: LdChino | Oct 23, 2009 5:23:05 AM

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