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Teaching Marriage (and Respect) in Maine Schools

This Letter to the Editor in the Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel caught my eye:

I’ve been a member of the Waterville Board of Education and its curriculum committee for almost 13 years. I am also an attorney.

I am disturbed by false assertions that the marriage equality law would lead to homosexual marriage being taught in our schools. There is no state-mandated marriage curriculum, and the new law has nothing to do with what schools will teach.

The Department of Education, the Attorney General, and the No on 1 campaign itself have made that clear.

Nevertheless, opponents of marriage equality charge that gay marriage will be taught in schools, over parents’ objections, if the law isn’t repealed. This is simply untrue. Not only is curriculum a matter of local control, Maine law (20-A M.R.S.A sec. 6209) provides for accommodation in instances where course content conflicts with the sincerely held religious beliefs and practices of a student’s parent or guardian.

Beyond curriculum, the reality is that some children in our schools are being raised by same-sex parents now. Their friends learn about their families just as they learn that some children have stepparents, one parent, adoptive parents, grandparents, or others who serve as guardians. Families have many different faces.

The children of same-sex couples deserve the same legal protections as others. Maine schools need to be places where every student is safe and respected. Denying same-sex families the protections of civil marriage would only undermine that goal.

Voting “no” on Question 1 will uphold a law that protects Maine families and kids by extending fundamental civil rights to same-sex couples. At the same time, it protects the rights of parents and churches, which have the right to their own beliefs and restrictions regarding marriage.

Joan Phillips-Sandy

Waterville

Can we please put this issue to rest, already? But even if we do, will it make a difference? Not according to this gloomy forecast cum assessment of the general political situation.

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