Education Leaders Slam New Anti-R74 Ad: Untruthful Fear Mongering

Education, legislative and family advocates today struck back at a new TV ad by opponents of Referendum 74 as misrepresenting what happens in Washington public schools, misrepresenting how legislation is made, and unnecessarily scaring voters about the bipartisan marriage law which has nothing to do with education or the public schools.

In a new ad that opponents to the freedom to marry are running in all four states where there is a ballot initiative on marriage, a Massachusetts couple erroneously draws broad conclusions from a single case that’s seven-years-old and has, in fact, been rejected by the courts and discredited by third-party analysis.

At the same time, Washington United for Marriage, the broad coalition working to approve R74 and the state’s marriage law, launched a new ad which reminds voters that parents teach values at home, not at school.  See the ad here. The full text of the ad follows this release.

“There is absolutely nothing in R74 or the new marriage law that will change anything at all in our schools or in our curriculum.  This is a red herring.  Our laws are very separate, and changing anything in our curriculum is a long, detailed process that involves the local school boards, school administrators, parents and teachers. To suggest any connection between the two is wrong and parents should be reassured that nothing will change under R74 when it comes to our public schools,” said Randy Dorn, the WA State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the highest ranking education official in the state.

“It’s ironic that the opponents of same-sex marriage would literally call their new ad, ‘Schools’ because our marriage law and Referendum 74 have nothing whatsoever to do with schools or curriculum. Nothing. Washington laws governing marriage and education are entirely separate bodies of law — not by accident, but on purpose. That’s what makes this claim so offensive because it’s clearly not based on the facts,” said State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, chair of the House Education Committee.

“Our opponents are resorting to the exact same scare tactics they are using in every state where marriage is on the ballot this year,” said Sen. Ed Murray, the Senate sponsor of the marriage equality bill. “Our bill got bipartisan support for lots of reasons, including that it does nothing more than extend marriage to loving, same-sex couples.”

“What’s so despicable about this ad is that it plays on a parent’s worst fear, that somehow extending marriage to all loving couples will lead to schools teaching inappropriate material to children. It won’t,” said former GOP State Sen. Cheryl Pflug. “Our laws are very separate in Washington and to suggest anything else is irresponsible and untrue. That’s precisely why Republicans crossed the aisle to support the bill.”

“I support approving Referendum 74 because I believe in tolerance, fairness and acceptance. Those are the values we should model for our children - and we can. The implication in this new TV ad by opponents of marriage equality that children will be harmed by the law is objectionable,” said Sara Morris, Executive Director, Alliance for Education.

The full text of the new WUM ad featuring Lynne and Greg Behrendt of Edmonds, follows:


Lynne: I’ve been teaching for 28 years

Greg: Kids learn a lot of important things at school

Lynne: But they learn their most important values at home, from their parents.

Greg: And that’s where our family values come in, the key is constant communication

Lynne: When it comes to same sex marriage, we want our kids to know that all loving committed couples should be able to get married. What we teach at school is no substitute for what happens at home

Greg: And that’s the way it should be