Much has been made of the anonymous document circling the web entitled “Six Consequences the Coalition Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails” (in support of Prop 8). In case you haven’t seen it, I’m posting it here along with Morris Thurston’s rebuttal. Morris Thurston is a Harvard educated lawyer and Professor at Brigham Young University. He is also an active member of the LDS Church.
Six Consequences the Coalition [in Support of Proposition 8] Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails – First Consequence
1. Children in public schools will have to be be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage.
The California Education Code already requires that health education classes instruct children about marriage. (#51890)
Therefore, unless Proposition 8 passes children will be taught that marriage is between two adults regardless of gender. There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach children their own values and beliefs.
Thurston/Response: This is untrue. California Education Code 51890 provides that “pupils will receive instruction to aid them in making decision in matters of personal, family and community health.” The focus is on health. The statute provides for community participation, including lectures by practicing professional health and safety personnel from the community. Things that are to be taught include, for example, drug use and misuse, nutrition, exercise, diseases and disorders, environmental health and safety, as well as “family health and child development, including the legal and financial aspects and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.”
Another section of the Education Code (51933) deals with comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention. It provides that instruction shall be age appropriate and medically accurate, shall teach “respect for marriage and committed relationships,” and shall encourage a pupil to communicate with his or her parents about human sexuality.
Therefore, no provision of the Education Code requires any teacher to teach that same-sex marriage is “just as good” as traditional marriage. Teachers are to teach respect for marriage and committed relationships, and Proposition 8 will not change this law.