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Gay Marriage Law Has No Impact on Public School Curricula, AG Concludes
10/15/2009   Reported By: A.J. Higgins

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says the state's gay marriage law, enacted by the Legislature last spring, has no impact on public school teaching. Mills' review came at the request of education officials, after same-sex marriage opponents claimed that the law would result in children being taught about gay marriage in public schools.

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Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says the state's gay marriage law enacted by the Legislature last spring has no impact on public school teaching. Mills' review came at the request of education officials, after same-sex marriage opponents claimed that the law would result in children being taught about gay marriage in public schools.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills researched Maine's gay marriage law and then compared it with similar legislation in Massachusetts. Then she asked her staff to review her findings just to see if there was any way that either law could require public school students to be instructed on same sex marriage.

"Our answer frankly is 'no,' there is no impact on the curricula of Maine's public schools," Mills says.

As the debate rages over whether Maine's gay marriage law should be repealed at the ballot box on Nov. 3, some of the most intense clashes have focused on what some repeal advocates have described as the indoctrination of children on gay lifestyles in the public schools.

Education Commissioner Susan Gendron became concerned over those statements and asked Mills for an analysis, even though the state has long maintained that marriage is not part of the state-approved curriculum. Mills says the state's Learning Results Law already addresses parents' objections to school curriculum based on religious grounds and she says that LD 1020, Maine's gay marriage law, would fall under that category.

"Maine has a statute under the Learning Results statute that requires accommodations for areas where course content might conflict with seriously held religious beliefs and practices of a student, parent or guardian," Mills says. "And we believe that statute stands regardless of passage of LD 1020."

Mills says that decisions on what is taught in Maine classrooms rests ultimately with local school boards. "The local school boards have final say on what educational materials are used in local schools. That duty and that responsibility remains, regardless of whether the voters choose to uphold LD 1020 or not," Mills says. "I've scoured Maine laws related to the education of our children for any references to marriage in the public school curricula, and I have found none."

Representatives of Stand for Marriage Maine, which opposes same sex marriage, did not return MPBN's calls for comment by air time.





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