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Reality Check: Anti-Gay Marriage Ad In Gov. Race

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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An anti-gay marriage ad is highlighting a question that until now has not been part of the Minnesota governor’s race: Should Minnesota voters be allowed to vote on a constitutional amendment that would make gay marriage illegal?

The uses a political tactic that’s common across the country; one that’s highly misleading; but it’s not completely false.

“When Massachusetts did this, gay marriage was taught to first and second graders,” said the ad from the Minnesota Family Council and the National Organization for Marriage. “Shouldn’t something this important be decided by Minnesota voters?”

This is an EXAGGERATION.

A Massachusetts couple did go to court to stop one teacher from reading the children’s book “King & King” about a gay couple, to their second grade child. The court ruled against them.

But in Massachusetts, like Minnesota, it does not mean gay marriage was, or will be, taught to children.

IN FACT…

Like most states, when it comes to health and sex, Minnesota lets local school boards decide what to teach and when.

Parents have a right to review the curriculum and take their children out of class if they don’t like it.

And there’s no rule, or state law, requiring the teaching of gay marriage.

“Mark Dayton and Tom Horner want gay marriage with no vote of the people. Tom Emmer believes marriage is between one man and one woman. And Emmer says: let the people vote,” says the ad.

The ad accurately describes which candidates for governor support gay marriage. But it’s beside the point. The governor has no role.

When a constitutional amendment is approved by the legislature, it bypasses the governor and goes directly to voters.

The anti-gay marriage ad also uses images of Dr. Martin Luther King, suggesting he’d agree: there ought to be a vote to ban gay marriage in Minnesota.

“The right to vote … Our most important civil right,” says the ad, while showing black and white images of Selma, Ala. and Dr. King giving a speech. “Some Minnesota politicians want to impose gay marriage without a vote.”

It’s cleverly phrased, but also MISLEADING.

The Martin Luther King Center says it’s an unauthorized use of the civil rights leader’s image.

Dr. King never addressed gay marriage and to imply support or opposition is “making a stretch”, according to the center.

That’s Reality Check.

To check the resources for this Reality Check, click on the links below.

Minnesota Family Council
National Organization for Marriage
NPR: Teacher, School Sued over Gay Fairy Tale
Minnesota Statutes: Parental Curriculum Review
Minnesota Statutes: Programs On STDs
SOS: Amending Our State Constitution: Continuity Through Ordered Change
Martin Luther King Center

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