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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equality campaigns are here: "deceptive and debunked," Maine; “false,” Maryland; “misleading,” Minnesota; "Dead wrong, outdated," Washington.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 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."

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 Parkers' 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 Parkers 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.

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 concerned parents.

David Parker is in fact, 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.

(Continues below the fold ...)

David and Tonia Parker

David Parker's radical anti-gay activism

The record shows David Parker was spoiling for a fight from the beginning. As a precursor to his lawsuit David Parker orchestrated his own arrest at this child's school over the book "incident," an act he described in his own words as “civil disobedience.” From Lexington Public Schools, Press Release, 5/2/05 (PDF embedded below).

The Administrators agreed to meet with the Parkers to consider their several requests, which appeared related to a picture book entitled "Who’s in a Family?" The book was among several included in a “diversity book bag” that children in the Lexington Public Schools are permitted to take home for parents to read with their child if they wish.
From the Boston Globe 10/9/2008:
The parents - David and Tonia Parker and Joseph and Robin Wirthlin - said they believe their constitutional rights to free exercise of religion, as well as parental and privacy rights, require they be given a chance to exempt their children from receiving the bag of books or hearing the books read aloud in class. The books are not required reading.

David Parker was arrested for trespassing at Estabrook Elementary School in April 2005, when he refused to leave the building until school officials promised to give him prior notification of their use of books that include homosexual characters.

Rachel Cortez, president of the school's parent-teacher association, said at the time that parents are given a chance to examine the books during a back-to-school night event early in the school year.

Mr. Parker could have left at any time, and declined to pay a $40 bail so the police would have no choice to but hold him overnight for arraignment.

Parker was grandstanding and in a very literal sense, playing for the cameras, as the Lexington Public School's press release makes clear [emphasis mine]:

While Mrs. Parker chose to leave before police arrival, Mr. Parker did not. Two plain-clothed detectives arrived at 5:20 p.m., followed by a Police Lieutenant at 6:00 p.m. All attempted to coax Mr. Parker to leave voluntarily. However, Mr. Parker made it clear that he would not leave unless his demands were met and that he knew he was engaging in ‘civil disobedience’ and was willing to accept the consequences. Mr. Parker declared, ‘If I’m not under arrest then I’m not leaving.’ Mr. Parker also used his cell phone to make a number of phone calls, and a small group of people began arriving with cameras.”
I'm sure the spectacle of his father being arrested at their school did wonders for the Parker boys' mental well-being. Kids love that sort of thing, when their parents are arrested in front of their school and video played for their schoolmates on the TV news. That's some great parenting there.

"An apartheid and the Christians are the ones set apart."

Jeremy Hooper has collected 15 quotes from a variety of radio interviews Parker has done during the course of his anti-gay activism, including appearing on MassResistance radio program. MassResistance is an extremist anti-gay group that is listed among Southern Poverty Law Center's hate groups list. Mass Resistance's leader, Brian Camenker, has told followers the gay community is pushing for a "bill in Massachusetts [that] takes away all the penalties for bestiality." (Need I say no such bill or movement to create such a bill exists?)

David Parker comfortably discusses "the gay agenda" in hyperbolic language and espouses conspiracy theories that can only be described as paranoid and detached from reality-based community.

As a matter of course during these interviews Parker repeats many discredited and dangerous beliefs such as prayer "cures" gays and sexual orientation is the result of early sexual trauma. (There is zero scientific evidence supporting either of these theories.) Parker believes being gay is a "disease," and akin to a drug addiction or alcoholism. He believes gay people are not authentically interested in parenting and just "using" their children for a political agenda. This is a nefarious plot he describes as "brilliant in its deviance and subtlety."

David Parker believes LGBT equality will create "apartheid" for Christians in America and that those who disdain gay people will face "segregation" and be treated with a "Jim Crow attitude." "An apartheid and the Christians are the ones set apart," as the radio host says to Parker's agreement.

David Parker believes the schools should be teaching the church is "the wedding bride of Christ" and how children can pray the gay away. Parker believes after gay marriage is accepted, public school teachers will "probably" behave like "sexual predators in parks" and that high schools will soon commence teaching "sodomy" and "how to sodomize." The audio recordings for all this are here.

The Parkers' complaint, and that of their co-plaintiffs Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, are 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 American.

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