Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prop 8 Leads to Teaching Gay Marriage in Schools

The big theme of the Yes on 8 crowd was that gay marriage would be taught in schools. The irony of course is that Prop 8 itself probably did more than anything else could have to get kids talking about gay marriage. With even further irony, they may also have made it a legitimate part of the curriculum, especially if the Cal Supreme Court does the right thing and invalidates Prop 8. This would make it a very fitting topic for Civics class. It's quite clear from all the noise being made about "four judges overturning the will of the people" that there are quite a lot of California citizens deficient in their Civics education, or at least in need of a refresher. Remedial topics include the Bill of Rights, the founding fathers' views on the "tyranny of the majority", the role of constitutions in protecting the fundamental rights of minorities against abridgement by majorities, and the role of supreme courts in enforcing that protection. Historical highlights in the curriculum include Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, Griswold v. Connecticut, Romer v. Evans, and Lawrence v. Texas. For California students, study should also include the role of the California Supreme Court as an independent guarantor of rights. Highlights include Perez v. Sharp, Mulkey v. Reitman, and In Re Marriage Cases.

UPDATE: The LA Times editorial board was on the same wavelength: "Maybe schools need to strengthen their civics lessons so that future voters will understand that supreme courts specifically are charged with ruling on constitutional questions -- and it is a sacred and historic role of the courts to protect minority rights as enshrined in state and federal constitutions. Indeed, if courts merely existed to ratify the will of majorities, they would add little to our society." And the spate of ensuing letters showed plenty of citizens needing those remedial civics lessons.


Anonymous said...

I agree that the yes-on-8 commercials got everybody in my son's 3rd grade class talking about gay marriage. If they were so concerned about this, they shouldn't have put these commercials on shows widely watched by 3rd graders. I know the commercial came up about 10 times while my son & I were watching a football game, which led to the inevitable discussion. So it seems to me the prop 8 people really weren't all that concerned about what the kids were hearing. Brian K.

CaliforniaCrusader said...

We who supported Proposition 8 aren't so concerned about kids talking about gay marriage. We care more about what teachers will say to children in the classroom. Yes, it is o.k. to teach respect for everyone, but not o.k. to teach that homosexuality is normal and kids should accept it without question. Have you actually read the GLSEN curriculum that some schools are using?
GLSEN curriculum in schools