For whatever reason, the Family Research Council has decided to resurrect the distortive story of supposedly what will happen if marriage equality is declared legal throughout the country, i.e. children will be “taught” about homosexuality.
Those who are familiar with how the right distorts this claim should know just who are the stars of the above video – two families from Massachusetts, the Parkers and the Wirthlins.
In 2005, the Wirthlins were supposedly upset that their child was read a story about a prince who marries another prince (instead of the customary stories of a young girl and her grandmother being eaten by a wolf or two children being abandoned by their parents in the forest and nearly cannibalized by a witch).
And the Parkers are really special. In 2005, the father, David Parker, was arrested for not leaving his son’s school. He claimed that he wanted some type of parental notice which would exclude his child from discussions of gay families, even if those discussions happened by accident. However, there are some (this author included) who believed that Parker had conspired with a local anti-gay group (Mass Resistance) to blow the entire incident out of proportion.
Both families sued the schools, claiming that parents had the right to opt out their children when lessons like these were taught. And they lost in front of the Supreme Court, who found that while Massachusetts did have a law allowing parents to opt their children out of lessons regarding human sexuality, learning about different families is not a lesson about human sexuality.
However, the story didn’t die. The National Organization for Marriage used the Parkers and Wirthlins in its successful attempt to pass Prop 8 in California. And the families were used in ads last year in Maryland, Maine, Washington state, and Minnesota – all failing efforts by the way.
This particular video starring Parker and Wirthlins runs like a conversation with FRC head Tony Perkins. However, I think it fails. Other than the ominous music and the fake tears at the end from Parker and his wife, I think the viewer will wonder what exactly is the problem.
If anything, the video makes the Parkers and Wirthlins look clueless and bigoted. While FRC tries to make the video seem like homosexuality will be “taught” to children as if this would be a calamity, the Parkers and Wirthlins freely admit that they object their children knowing about same-sex households.
And therein lies the difference. It is the reason why both families lost their lawsuit in court. Learning about different families has nothing to do with human sexuality. According to the Seattle Times, who wrote about an ad featuring the Parkers and the Wirthlins last year:
In reality, in classrooms across the state and the country, teachers are already having conversations with children about different kinds of families — those of mixed race or religion, or those headed by single parents, grandparents, two moms or two dads.
And lessons about families are already part of the grade-level requirements for first-graders in Washington schools — the idea being that it helps prepare them to function as citizens in a diverse society.
But those requirements say nothing about any kind of marriage, and schools typically don’t raise the subject — in deference to students who come from homes where the adults may not be married. Perhaps more importantly, there’s no direct link between school curricula and same-sex-marriage laws . . .
And while the video focuses on the Parkers’ children – making free use of footage showing them playing and walking with their parents – this footage again undercuts the message FRC tries to present because the actual message it is saying is that same-sex households and the children who live in those households are somehow inferior and should not be type of respect that two-parent heterosexual households are given.
No doubt, FRC will sway the minds of those who are already in its camp, but that’s a given. If the group was attempting to win over new converts to its side, then it will fail miserably. All in all, the video is archaic and the Wirthlins and Parkers come across as mean-spirited and selfish people determined to push second-class status on families who are not like their own.