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10/16/2009

Stand For Marriage Maine: The most intellectually offensive campaign we've ever faced

by Jeremy Hooper

Jen-CyrWe've expended scores of words on Maine's "yes on 1" campaign, and their insistence that the carrying out of Maine's already-passed, already-signed marriage equality bill will lead to same-sex marriage being taught in schools. And by "we," we don't just mean this site -- we mean the broad coalition of bloggers, columnists, vloggers, reporters, tweeters, attorneys general, and assorted opinion-holders who've seen our opposition's highly flawed ads and felt the need, whether as LGBT people or simply as fair-minded humans, to say something about the bullcrappy in their midst. The pushback has been resoundingly principled, appropriately focused (i.e. on the game, not the players), and easy enough for a non-indoctrinated child to understand.

In a normal realm of discussion, the other side would be forced to actually acknowledge some of what we're saying. But this is not normal world -- it's the world of "pro-family" politics, where the only form of dialogue they support exists between themselves and their choir, and the only opinions that matter are the faith-based ones that fully agree with their talking points. So rather than listen to what the state Attorney General Janet Mills has told them and process it under the understanding that her commitment to the law is what led her to her supportive stance, they write her off as just another liberal. Rather than think logically about the fact that same-sex relationships might be discussed in ANY state school because gay people exist in EVERY state in the nation, they continue to act as if marriage equality is the spark plug that will "force" kids to learn the "schoking" truth that this world is populated by non-heteros. And rather than use their ink on this, the 18th day before Mainers go to vote, to discuss LD 1020 on its civil marital merits, they instead put out accusatory, point-missing, fallacy-filled press releases like the following:

AG Mills Unable to Deny Same-Sex Marriage Can Be Taught in Maine Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2009
For More Information:
Contact: Scott K Fish, Communications Director
207-458-7185

AG Mills Unable to Deny Same-Sex Marriage Can Be Taught in Maine Schools

It is irrefutable that there is nothing in LD 1020 that prevents our children from being taught about same-sex marriage

The following statement can be attributed to Marc Mutty, chairman of Stand for Marriage Maine, the official campaign of Yes on Question 1:

“It was a foregone conclusion that the Attorney General, an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage, has taken the position that there will be no change in public school curricula if Question 1 fails and LD 1020 takes effect.

“Ms. Mills has long supported LD 1020, the gay marriage legislation. Nearly a week before she released her opinion, she told a local television reporter that she was “appalled” by our ads, which do nothing more than point out the real consequences to school children and parents if a new legal definition of “any two will do” marriage replaces the union between a man and a woman.

“In her capacity as Maine’s Attorney General, Mills testified in support of it before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee at the LD 1020 public hearing on 4/22/09, saying, in part, ‘I speak as someone who is now charged with enforcing Maine’s civil rights laws, and hopes that passage of LD 1020 will make my job so much easier.’ [Empasis added]

“Her legal opinion has not even a shred of pretense of independence or objectivity.

“The request for and her opinion itself is nothing more than the classic lawyer scheme of creating a straw man argument simply for the benefit of striking it down. The opinion poses a position that our campaign does not advocate – that LD 1020 affirmatively changes the curricula to require instruction on gay marriage. That is not our position. Our position is that no change to Maine’s curricula is necessary in order for homosexual marriage to be taught in our schools. Further, that homosexual marriage is taught in other states where it has been legalized. When they study the facts, Mainers will see right through Ms. Mills’ opinion for what it is: a shameless political ploy by supporters of homosexual marriage.

“There is no getting around the fact that gay marriage has been taught in Massachusetts and California. There is no denying that the author of the “Who’s in a Family” book that discusses homosexual relationships and is currently used with young children in Portland said, “The whole purpose of the book was to get the subject out into the minds and the awareness of children before they are old enough to have been convinced there’s another way of looking at life.” And it is a fact that the Maine state-government sanctioned LGBTQ Youth Commission suggests that gay advocates be placed in every school and every school building, giving greater influence to the gay rights structure that already exists through the Gay Straight Alliance and the Gay, Lesbian Education School Network.

“Yes on Question 1 has shown – and our opponents have been forced to acknowledge – that existing curricula ALREADY create an opportunity for teaching about same-sex relationships under the guise of “safe schools” instruction. We know, for example, that the Portland schools already show films on gay relationships. What is to stop them from showing films about homosexual marriage if it becomes legal?

“Quite simply, the issues we have raised in this campaign were the very same issues raised by many at the single public hearing on LD 1020; none of our arguments are news to our opponents. They had ample opportunity to blunt our concerns by expressly prohibiting same-sex marriage from being discussed in public schools, but they did not do so.

“It is irrefutable that there is nothing in LD 1020 that prevents our children from being taught about same-sex marriage. Maine Department of Education spokesman David Connerty-Marin confirmed that point earlier this month when he told a Maine reporter, ‘There’s nothing in Maine’s standards that requires or encourages teaching on that topic and there’s nothing that prohibits it either.’ [Empasis added]

“We have demonstrated how it could be taught in schools, and that it HAS been taught in other states that have legalized gay marriage. It’s a shame that Maine’s top lawyer is using her good office for such a transparent political stunt.”

They just don't get it. They try to use California against us, even though they (using the same consulting firm and ad people) rolled back marriage equality in that state. They write off AG Mills, acting as if it would be acceptable in any state in the land for an attorney general to write out such a long and reasoned assessment of state law if it wasn't based in the same. They even refer to their own state's LGBTQ Youth Commission, which, again, exists independently of same-sex marriage rights, and so therefore invalidates their entire belief that LD 1020 is the thing on which gay acceptance hinges. It's a parade of asides bound by a refusal to take on actuality, and a determination to get teh gay at any cost.

And then look at this clumsy line:

“It is irrefutable that there is nothing in LD 1020 that prevents our children from being taught about same-sex marriage."

What is that, a triple negative? Essentially what they are saying is that this bill won't stop marriage equality from being taught. Well duh! It also won't prevent me from having lasagna for dinner -- what the frick is their point!??! Of course it's irrefutable that nothing in LD 1020 prevents marriage from being taught, because the mere suggestion that it should do so is so mindless that anyone who even thought it should have self-refuted the idea before it left their tongues!

Ugh, look at what we're doing yet again. We're wasting more words on this almost unbelievably ignorant attack on our lives. We're being forced to "explain" why something won't be mandated, even though there's nothing wrong with it. We're being forced to answer critics' ridiculous lines, even though their underlying criticism simply lies in the mere fact that we are LGBT people. We are being forced to defend our right to have our families and our loved ones taught accurate information about our lives. We are having to answer private, Christian school teachers' claims about public schooling (even though we'd never demand they explain why they put a teaching of God's word before instruction in spelling, as such is their right as private, Christian school teachers). In short: We are being forced to play defense against a political campaign that has been engaging in deep, dehumanizing offense since day one.

We do so because we have no choice. The truly disturbing thing is that they do. They do have a choice. And once again, a team that calls itself "pro-family" has chosen to fill our fall with fighting rather than fun and foliage. It just might be -- and we don't say this lightly or take any joy in saying it -- the most willfully spiteful, purposely hurtful, eagerly misrepresentative team we have ever faced.

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Your thoughts

I wish to add, the graphic from your post also seems to indicate that by hugging my father, we are having gay sex. What a thuroughly confusing message Stand for Marriage Maine is sending.

Posted by: Sam | Oct 16, 2009 7:22:10 PM

Yea, Sam, I don't know *who* thought it was a good idea to write that on the blackboard. Definitely a "Gathering Storm" moment for SFMM.

Maybe I'll have to cook up a parody.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 16, 2009 7:38:30 PM

Of course they are doing ALL of this.....IT IS EXACTLY HOW THEY WON IN CA. I have friends FOR Gay Marriage who voted YES on Prop H8, because she didn't want her son
'taught to be gay' in school!!!! They believe this.
This only way to fight it is to SHOW THEM REAL MAINE PEOPLE... especially teachers who refute this over and over and over. But as long as the ballot box is secret they will vote the other way!

Posted by: LOrion | Oct 16, 2009 7:46:25 PM

Stand for Marriage Maine is definitely not Yes on 8. Yes on 8 was never so clumsy, and would not have given away their moral "high ground" by directly mentioning gay sex or openly ranking Christian sects like these folks do. As much as I hated their work, those people had discipline.

This ad completely baffles me, because every time I see it I think if "Gay Sex" is on one side of the board then "Straight Sex" must be on the other. Is she mad because we've ruined her detailed lesson plan on that subject? Does she want me to vote YES so she can go back to teaching young kids that? And why is this obviously early grade teacher teaching sex-ed at all?

Posted by: Patrick | Oct 16, 2009 9:12:51 PM

“It is irrefutable that there is nothing in LD 1020 that prevents our children from being taught about same-sex marriage."

Of course there isn't. And, the fact of the matter is that even if Question 1 passes, there is absolutely nothing that will keep any children from being taught that some of their classmates have same-sex parents. And, there is absolutely no reason why any child should ever be "protected" from that knowledge. It's like the racist, hate-filled, white supremacists who expended much energy attempting to ensure that their children never sat in a classroom with an African American; or, god forbid, was ever befriended by anyone who was a member of a race or national origin that they loved to hate.

And, the mere fact that they hatemongering lying liars are waging this very loud and very public war against those of us that they love to hate, means that they themselves are ensuring that every child in Maine is hearing about same-sex marriage over and over again. I would wager that there are very few, if any, children above the age of five, in Maine, who haven't heard the words same-sex marriage. And, most of them have probably asked what same-sex marriage is. And, dare I say, many of them do in fact have classmates who are being raised by same-sex parents.

And, if the "anonymous student" who wrote to you back in July about being a student in Charla Bansley's class was honest, then the lying liars are currently teaching their own students (in church sponsored school classrooms) about same-sex marriage. And worse, they are hoping to exploit the children, in those classrooms, in an attempt to spread their own vile anti-gay hatred - by prompting them to write letters to editors, in which they are hoping that the students repeat their lambasting of marriage equality.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Oct 16, 2009 9:21:03 PM

Stand For Marriage Maine: The most intellectually offensive campaign we've ever faced...

That is the truth. I live here in Maine and I have to say, as a citizen of the state, I am appalled at what S4MM are spewing out and calling a campaign. My dream, my fantasy is that political science classes for years to come dissect the Yes on 1 campaign as the "perfect storm" of how to do it wrong.

Meanwhile, I worked at No on 1 this evening and right now I am signed up for 10 more evenings between now and election day, plus all day on Nov. 3. No on 1, as they say here in Maine!

L

Posted by: Leslie | Oct 16, 2009 10:54:31 PM

Miss Lady Fatass needs to worry about her sin of gluttony and not gay sex!

Posted by: nikko | Oct 16, 2009 11:26:29 PM

Gods, it sounds as if they are trying to a.) play upon people's irrational fears (and breeders are chock full'a those!), and b.) behaving as if children/ kids are supposed to live in a vacuum without having been "contaminated" by the notion that alternative innate sexual orientations exist ANYWHERE--NO family, unless they live in the sticks without modern amenities like television and radio, can be expected to vacuum-seal their kids from birth with their own influence and beliefs. Hell, what's to prevent this kid from seeing proud gay men on TV, in the news, on-line, or even at their own school, or...gods help them[!], even being invited to a Gay wedding?!

Why DOES the thought of two men or two women getting legally MARRIED bother breeders so damned much? It just seems to be the THOUGHT alone that, to them, TARNISHES this dewy-eyed image of marriage that they have constructed which has no bearing on the CIVIL LAW!

HA! And, speaking of Logical Fallacies, but *I* would not light matches in celebration if *I* were them; they speak of "Straw Man" arguments 9a classic Logical Fallacy), but they have failed to substantiate that allegation; instead, their arguments boil down to ad hominem assaults, special pleading, and I could go on, and on, and on with a list of fallacious reasoning as long as my arm!

And, Christ on a Cracker (I'm Pagan so can get away with such monotheistic blasphemy! *G*), their antagonistic behavior relegated to What-Ifs seems like a play-by-play from the days of both the segregation and inter-racial marriage days! Why not acknowledge this simple fact of their campaign (a campaign that that wretch of a human being, Maggie Gallagher, appears particularly well-versed in).

Posted by: Wade MacMorrighan | Oct 17, 2009 1:02:36 AM

Well, I expect the good people of Maine to stand firm for traditional marriage; the way God created it in the first place: One Man and One Woman for Life! I am absolutely confident that Gay "marriage" will be BANNED in Maine come November 3rd! Praise the Lord!

Posted by: Wayne | Oct 17, 2009 2:14:41 AM

Here's what I don't get, and Jeremy, maybe you can clarify - at the moment, is there any law that states that same sex relationships CAN'T be taught in schools? And by taught, I obviously mean referred to or explained, because sane people all know that gay isn't something that's "taught", it's just something that is, like heterosexuality.

My point is, if a boy in school has two fathers, and another child in his classes raises his hand during story time or something and says "how come Timmy has two daddy's and I only have one?", is there any law on the books that would prevent a teacher from saying "well, everyone's family is different, some have a mommy and a daddy, some have two mommies, some have two daddies, some have a grandma or a grandpa, some have foster parents, and some have aunts and uncles...but the main thing is every family loves each other and takes care of each other, and while every family is different in how they are made up, they are all the same in the sense that the goal of a family is to love and protect one another"? Because if I were a teacher and a child asked me that question, an answer like that one would be my answer. Would I get fired for that in Maine? By including two mommies or two daddies?

If not, then WHAT THE HELL IS THE BIG DEAL??! If gay marriage is approved, it's not like it's ending a law already in place in schools. It's not like gay couples will suddenly just exist after NOT having existed. Gay couples already exist in Maine, and I'm sure many many many of them have children in the school system already. And while marriages might bring those relationships to a little bit more of a forefront (say, for example, when a couple finally CAN get married and DOES and a child is part of that wedding), it's not like they don't exist and aren't being explained as it is. So I don't really get SFMM's point here.

I hate that they act like if gay marriage is passed, kindergardners will be taught about the intricacies of like, anal sex or cunnilingus or fisting. For christ's sake, hetero sex ed wasn't taught in my school district until 6th grade (12) and then again in I think 10th or 11th grade (16/17). And let me tell you, I can't imagine it being any more awkward at those ages to hear about gay sex than it already is hearing about hetero sex from a 57 year old man with a monotone voice and a mustache! He turned me off of dental dams for life! So I can't see gay marriage leading to a standard rule of teaching 5 year olds about gay sex, just like allowing hetero marriages doesn't lead to five year olds being informed about straight sex.

These people are so dumb.

Posted by: Stef | Oct 17, 2009 3:23:39 AM

I posted to their facebook wall a respectful disagreement.

Why are any of us shocked by their tactics though? It is always the same, the lies and distortions...yes I agree with you Jeremy that it sucks that here we are again forced to confront them but did anyone think it would be somehow different? WE should be different and ready for it this time. And it seems like we are, which makes me hopeful.

Posted by: Sykler | Oct 17, 2009 9:03:43 AM

Wade, could you please try to be a bit more inclusive in your language? I am a straight married woman who has had two children so I guess that makes me a "breeder." I have put in many hours for the No on 1 campaign and will be putting in many, many more over the next two weeks. Many of my co-volunteers are also straight allies, like me. The fact is, if it were only the LBGTQ community who was volunteering and working on this campaign, there wouldn't be enough people to get the job done and ensure that we do win on Nov. 3rd.

Heck, campaign manager Jesse Connolly (who I think is a genius) is a breeder. So, please, Wade, don't disenfranchise us and our efforts through the language you use.

Thanks.

Posted by: Leslie | Oct 17, 2009 10:10:06 AM

Notice how they are trying to make our symbols sinister icons designed to deceive?

Posted by: pantherq | Oct 17, 2009 10:13:47 AM

It's easy to understand why the Yes on 1 campaign is, more that anything, "all about the children." They are exploiting the ignorance of most straights about how their children may become gay. And that terrifies most parents. They fear their children could be taught or influenced to be gay, and they fear that social acceptance will convey to their children that "choosing" to be gay is okay. That's what we are dealing with, and in that environment it can be an easy decision to vote Yes on 1. The message about fairness and equality doesn't mean much to these ignorant people.

Those of us who are gay, particularly older people such as me, know that social pressures had zero effect on our orientation, but only on how we dealt with it - usually through a lot of suffering. I grew up in a totally hetero-centric environment. I never read about homosexuality, never heard it talked about, and was never molested or propositioned. But I knew at 13 that I was totally attracted to boys, but not at all to girls. Somehow, it must have been communicated to me that what I was feeling was unspeakable, and therefore I could not reveal it. It took me until my mid-twenties to muster the courage to pursue my first sexual experience.

We have a lot of basic educating to do to combat the ignorance. And part of that, I think, needs to be educating people on how equality for gays also benefits all of society. It seems to me that the No on 1 campaign is generally focused on what is good for us gays. But there really are reasons why No on 1 is good for everyone, although those reasons may be difficult to convey in a short TV ad without some prior education efforts.

Posted by: Richard Rush | Oct 17, 2009 2:45:12 PM

Hey everybody, Wayne is back with his usual brand of delusion and fanatism!

Posted by: ---- | Oct 17, 2009 3:02:41 PM

Wayne is just another one of the Rapture-ready members of the Biblical Alliance for Rabid Fundamentalism (BARF).

Posted by: Richard Rush | Oct 17, 2009 3:32:31 PM

Wayne has a heart full of hate and rage. But, Wayne, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. Keep the fire burning, buddy. A world bereft of incessant hatemongers would be... oh, wait... that might actually be pretty nice.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Oct 17, 2009 6:36:11 PM

Dear Marriage for Maine,

You don't seem to know what sex is, here, let me show you.

Your place or mine?
Sean
ps. It's probably sex if you couldn't do it *anywhere* in public.

Posted by: Corvidae | Oct 17, 2009 7:25:30 PM

Leslie, thank you. Because there seem to be so many heterosexuals up-in-arms over this issue, it's easy to forget our allies (especially when we're up against the likes of Mags!). Perhaps I should have used the word "hetero-sexists"?

Posted by: Wade MacMorrighan | Oct 17, 2009 11:22:23 PM

Actually Wayne, the holy babble seems to say that "marriage" should be a man, a woman, and their female slaves that the man is permitted to rape and steal the resultant children. Wow god's a great guy isn't he?

Posted by: therealistmom | Oct 18, 2009 1:02:06 AM

This ad is a combination of the "ick" factor and the "they're recruiting!" tactic.

Posted by: Vancity | Oct 18, 2009 1:07:09 AM

Thanks, Wade.

As to what to call them, I dunno. Fanatics? Lunatics? Those seem like good choices.

Meanwhile, this stupid ad is backfiring on S4MM (as I rub my hands in glee). Someone posted on the Press Herald website that after the ad came on at 7 pm on Friday night, her two children starting asking, "Mom, what is gay sex?" The commenter said she was "mortified." LOL. She was undecided but now has decided to vote No on 1 -- because of this ad!

Two big endorsements for No on 1 in the past two days: the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald. I am feeling a good surge of positive energy but we must still work, work, work. The job is not done until the last vote is counted.

L

Posted by: Leslie | Oct 18, 2009 10:27:17 AM

Wayne's comment, completely disregarding any of the arguments contained within Jeremy's original post or any of the comments, perfectly illustrates a point Jeremy raised:

"the world of "pro-family" politics, where the only form of dialogue they support exists between themselves and their choir"

It makes me wonder if Wayne even bothered to read the article. It would be sooooo much more fun to argue with these people if they actually responded to any arguments we put forth (or maybe they pointedly avoid doing so because they know as well as we do that our arguments absolutely obliterate theirs).

In any case, silence is acceptance. Whenever a "pro"-family bigot ignores the premises of my reasoned opposition to their arguments, I'm actually flattered - it's their way of telling me I won.

Posted by: PINGAS | Oct 18, 2009 7:18:24 PM

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