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June 30, 2011 Print

NY Same-Sex Marriage Law: “It Does Not Protect Our Children”

by Candi Cushman

Warning: Graphic content included below.

When it came down to the wire in the battle over legalizing same-sex marriage in New York, the final sticking point was religious freedom protections.

In the end, four swing-vote Republicans supported it, citing assurances that sufficient protections for people of faith had been added.

But in the aftermath, it’s now abundantly clear that the promised protections were mainly a ploy to win votes,  and they don’t really add up to real-life safeguards for everyday individuals—like the small-town marriage-license clerk and the limo driver—who are already agonizing over how they will follow their religious convictions.

One of “the most glaring omissions”—as Alliance Defense Fund attorney Austin Nimocks put it—is protection for parents, students and educators in public schools.

“It does not protect our children,” said Nimocks in an interview with the Baptist Press.

What does this mean exactly? What will the impact be in New York schools?

To understand the ramifications, we need look no further than Massachusetts—(keeping in mind the ripple effect could be far-reaching, as activists try to spin off the New York momentum to push for civil unions and gay marriage in other states like Colorado and New Jersey.)

First, a little history: Massachusetts was the first state to legalize full-fledged same-sex marriage. Not long after it was legalized, National Public Radio (NPR) featured an interview with an eighth-grade teacher, Ms. Allen, who was exuberant about her new-found freedom to talk about homosexuality in the classroom.

“In my mind, I know that, ‘OK, this is legal now.’ If somebody wants to challenge me, I’ll say, ‘Give me a break. It’s legal now,’ ” she told NPR.

The NPR reporter went on to explain that the teacher now discusses “gay sex” with students “thoroughly and explicitly with a chart.”

Ms. Allen herself offered more details about exactly how she explains this chart to kids: “All right. So can a woman and a woman kiss and hug? Yes. Can a woman and a woman have vaginal intercourse?, and they will say no. And I’ll say, ‘Hold it. Of course, they can. They can use a sex toy. They could use’—and we talk—and we discuss that. So the answer there is yes.”  (You can listen to the interview here. )

It’s also disturbing to hear what’s happened at the elementary level. Consider the parents in Lexington, Massachusetts, who were upset to discover that their kindergarten and first-grade age kids had been exposed to books promoting homosexuality and same-sex marriage without their permission.

(Dig deeper–continue reading this commentary)