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Reality Check: New, Deceptive Marriage Amendment Ad

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The group supporting the proposed marriage amendment released its fourth TV ad on Thursday.

It features parents in Massachusetts who objected to the use of a book in their 2nd grader’s class.

One of the parents, David Parker, was arrested at his son’s Massachusetts school in 2006 after refusing to leave until his questions were answered about a book called “Who’s in a Family?”

The book includes different kinds of families, including same-sex parents, and he sued the school district for not notifying him in advance.

The Parkers objected to same-sex parents in the book, and lost a court case to force the school to notify them when gay themes were discussed.

And in the ad, produced by Minnesota for Marriage, Parker and his wife, Tonia, say gay marriage could soon be taught in Minnesota schools.

“If gay marriage happens here, schools could teach that boys could marry boys,” a narrator says at the beginning of the ad.

The Parkers then say: “After Massachusetts redefined marriage, local schools taught it to children in 2nd grade, including the school our son attended.”

This is false, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

There’s no evidence that Massachusetts “teaches” gay marriage, or that young children are being indoctrinated, as the Parkers alleged.
Massachusetts schools do have a diversity curriculum, called the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework, that includes same sex marriage; but it was developed before gay marriage was legal.

“Courts ruled parents had no right to take their children out of class or to even be informed when this instruction was going to take place,” the ad says.

This is misleading.

The court ruled against the Parkers.

But the Parkers’ lawsuit argued the school violated their religious beliefs that homosexuality is immoral.

The courts said it was not a violation, and that parents cannot restrict what a public school teaches.

“If marriage is redefined in Minnesota, same sex marriage could be taught in local schools, just as it was in Massachusetts,” the Parkers concluded. “Don’t make the same mistake and think gay marriage won’t affect you.”

The ad continues a pattern of deception by the group supporting the constitutional amendment.

It’s important to remember: Minnesota’s not voting to legalize gay marriage.

It’s voting to keep it illegal by adding it to the Constitution.

Even if the amendment fails, gay marriage will still be illegal under Minnesota law.

Meanwhile, Minnesota’s not the only state where David and Tonia Parker are starring in gay marriage ads.

The Parkers deliver nearly identical gay marriage messages in TV ads now airing in Maryland and Maine.

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