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The ‘Yes on 8’ campaign’s new ad

Well, not exactly.

The ad shows you California Education Code section 51933(b)(7), which says, “Instruction and materials shall teach respect for marriage.” But perhaps it also should’ve cited this one:

51240. (a) If any part of a school’s instruction in health conflicts with the religious training and beliefs of a parent or guardian of a pupil, the pupil, upon written request of the parent or guardian, shall be excused from the part of the instruction that conflicts with the religious training and beliefs.
(b) For purposes of this section, “religious training and beliefs” includes personal moral convictions.

“(I)nstruction in health” includes sexual health education, and that’s what the section cited in the ad governs. So California parents always have had the right to opt their children out of this curriculum, and they still will whether or not Proposition 8 passes.

That’s why Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley this August shot down the “Yes on 8” campaign’s challenges to opponents’ ballot-pamphlet assertions that Proposition 8 “doesn’t have anything to do with schools;” that Proposition 8 “won’t affect our schools;” and that “no child can be forced, against the will of their [sic] parents, to be taught anything about health and family issues.” The State Court of Appeal denied proponents’ request for a fast review, and they dropped the matter. Case closed… until this ad.

One also could argue that public schools should be teaching the law of the land, and if a majority of voters decide same-sex marriage should remain the law of the land, so be it. But that’s a whole other discussion.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.