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Now playing in four states: virtually identical ads designed at heading off marriage equality at the ballot box. These ads are merely a retread of the template created to defeat marriage equality in the Proposition 8 ballot referendum of 2008 in California.

They are all produced by the kingpin of anti-gay politics: Frank Schubert. They are all premised on the foundation of one basic lie: that a state implementing marriage equality will compel the state to teach children in public schools all about gay marriage.

It won't.

Regardless what happens with the marriage equality question, the power to define educational curriculum for each state lies in individual legislatures and the various boards of education, however these states organize such decisions. None of these bills contain any directives, amendments or anything that obligates any schools to teach anything. For what it's worth, Politifact rated this claim as "False" in 2011.

More detailed, state-specific responses from the marriage equality campaigns are here: "deceptive and debunked," Maine; “false,” Maryland; “misleading,” Minnesota; "Dead wrong, outdated," Washington.

The ad claims: "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."

There was a court case, but this is a complete misrepresentation of what happened.

The man making this false claim, David Parker, was a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against a Massachusetts school district. The suit contended their rights had been violated when a book was given to their son as optional, non-required reading material. The book the Parkers objected to was Who's In A Family? It is not the book depicted in the commercial. The book in the commercial contains a same-sex kiss—doubtlessly the reason it was included—which the book the Parkers objected to does not, nor does the book the Parkers objected to contain any mention of marriage of any kind. The illustration that enraged Parker can be seen in the upper right corner in the image at the right.

In fact, what the courts actually found was that the Parker's lawsuit was baseless, in part because "Massachusetts does have a statute that requires parents be given notice and the opportunity to exempt their children from curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues.  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71, § 32A."

(Continue reading below the fold.)

Furthermore, the court concluded:

[W]e cannot see how [Parker's son] Jacob's free exercise right was burdened at all: two books were made available to him, but he was never required to read them or have them read to him.  Further, these books do not endorse gay marriage or homosexuality, or even address these topics explicitly, but merely describe how other children might come from families that look different from one's own. [Emphasis mine.]
The Parker's case was dismissed twice, on trial and appeal as lacking merit, which is a far cry from ruling they had no rights. In reality, the court recognized the Parkers had rights and the lawsuit was superfluous and not every incident that offends a person's religious sensibilities is a federal civil rights violation.

The court recognized the Parker's complaint was particular to their school and child's class and had no relation to the state law or districtwide curriculum:

Indeed, there is not even a formal, districtwide policy of affirming gay marriage through the use of such educational materials with young students.
Moreover, the court did recommend a reasonable course of action aside from making a federal case when one feels one's religious beliefs have been offended:
If the school system has been insufficiently sensitive to such religious beliefs, the plaintiffs may seek recourse to the normal political processes for change in the town and state.
It's a common reaction from conspiracy theorists when their complaints are dismissed. It's not that your complaint is silly, invalid and you failed to meet the evidentiary burden to make your case; it's the system that is broken, and persecuting you.

The Parkers' complaint, and that of their co-plaintiffs Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, is the only documented case of such a parental complaint in Massachusetts in eight years. Frank Schubert has cleverly leveraged a failed case of two pairs of disgruntled parents into an argument against the equality of millions of Americans.

Why would the Parkers choose to make a federal case out of such a minor incident?  

What the mainstream media will probably be reluctant to report is the Parkers are not just any ordinary run-of-the mill, ordinary concerned parents.

David Parker is, in fact, a radical anti-gay activist.

On the issue of LGBT equality, David Parker can be best described as having far more common ground with Michele Bachmann and Pat Robertson than the average soccer mom.

See also: "The man behind Frank Schubert's deceptive multi-state anti-equality ad."

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