Does Senator Smith Believe They'll Be Teaching Gay Sex in Schools?

gordon_smith_36.jpgSo we received the new “Yes on 36″ flier today. The first thing I noticed was a big picture of Senator Gordon Smith, right above the “Yes on 36″ return address. The photo was accompanied by a quote from Senator Smith, saying that marriage “is about the tantual rearing and nurturing of children, preparing them for citizenship under the most ideal circumstances possible.”

Turning the image over, there’s a picture of a sad-looking little girl with the caption “The classroom will never be the same.” Then, opening up the flier, I see this claim, in huge letters:

If Measure 36 Fails Gay and Lesbian Sex Will be Taught in Oregon Schools

The flier doesn’t directly say that Senator Smith endorses the claim that “if Measure 36 fails, gay and lesbian sex will be taught in Oregon schools,” but that’s sure the impression it gives.

I called Senator Smith’s office in Portland – (503)326-3386. I read the staff person who answered that caption, and politely asked if Senator Smith believes that “if Measure 36 fails, gay and lesbian sex will be taught in Oregon schools.” The person promised to have someone call me back. I then called the Senator’s Washington office – (202)224-3753 – and asked them the same question. The staffer I spoke to asked me to email Senator Smith and promised that someone would get back to me.

Senator Smith is actually one of the most decent GOP members of Congress. He’s not usually a gay-basher, he values his good relationships with gay Oregonians, and I doubt he’d be willing to endorse the claim that measure 36 is about if gay sex will be taught in schools. But he might not address this claim, unless people hold his feet to the fire a bit. Please call Senator Smith, or FAX him – (202)228-3997 or (503)326-2900 are his FAX numbers – and politely ask if Senator Smith agrees that “If measure 36 fails, gay and lesbian sex will be taught in Oregon schools.”

Please call whether or not you live in Oregon. Please, if you own a blog, consider reproducing or linking to this post right away. I’d like to generate hundreds of calls to Senator Smith, if that’s possible.

Here’s the text of the email I sent Senator Smith’s office.

I just received a flier in the mail from “yes on 36.” Directly over the “yes on 36″ return address, there’s a smiling color photograph of Senator Smith along with a quote from Senator Smith endorsing traditional marriage.

Opening up the flier, I see a huge caption saying “If Measure 36 fails gay and lesbian sex will be taught in Oregon schools.”

I would like to know if Senator Smith believes or endorses the statement that “If Measure 36 fails gay and lesbian sex will be taught in Oregon schools.”

My impression is that Gordon Smith values his relatively good relationship with lesbian and gay Oregonians, and is one of the most genuinely non-bigoted members of the GOP. And I realize that same-sex marriage is an issue that people can in good faith disagree on.

However, the idea that lesbians and gays are seeking to teach gay sex in schools is a bigoted and dangerous myth, which spreads hatred of lesbians and gays and encourages gaybashing. I would be very disappointed if Gordon Smith allowed his name and image to be used to endorse such a bigoted myth. Please let me know Mr. Smith’s position on this specific question – “If Measure 36 fails gay and lesbian sex will be taught in Oregon schools” – as soon as possible.

Thank you very much.

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9 Responses to Does Senator Smith Believe They'll Be Teaching Gay Sex in Schools?

  1. 1
    Kevin Moore says:

    Good letter. And a nice way to put them on the spot—which they deserve for spreading such nonsense.

    As I’ve commented elsewhere on this esteemed blog, it seems like a nonsequitor that the civil right to marry one’s loved one should be so easily taken away or denied because of what might or might not be taught in school. Should gay marriage be officially sanctioned, certainly the issue of how gays and lesbians love one another would come up in class; kids have a lot of questions, most of which should be answered, especially if they are grounded in misconceptions or stereotypes. But the teacher always sets the parameters. There is no need to get into dildos, lubricant or whatever because a) such implements are not inherent nor universal aspects of queer relationships; and b) one doesn’t get into such discussions about straight relationships, either. Questions about reproduction are another matter, but that can be discussed with respect to community standards of discretion and appropriateness.

    But even that is too much for some people. As witnessed by Lynne Cheney’s extreme reaction to the nice things John Kerry said about her lesbian daughter. Some political manipulativeness may have played a part, but Lynne has had a long pattern of denial and avoidance regarding the issue of Mary’s sexuality. To even mention it is to cross a line into some terrible territory. The same can be said for the homophobes behind Yes on 36.

  2. 2
    Amanda says:

    Banning gay marriage is not the same as banning gay people. Even without marriage, these questions that Kevin brings up will still be asked and still need to be answered. I am heartily tired of people who bring children into the real world and then complain that the real world didn’t just change overnight into the one they want to give to their children.

  3. 3
    Sam the girl says:

    Amanda,

    You said, “I am heartily tired of people who bring children into the real world and then complain that the real world didn’t just change overnight into the one they want to give to their children.”

    I would add and don’t want to accept that in the real world some of those children(maybe even their own) are gay or lesbian.

    Sam

  4. 4
    Amy S. says:

    I would add and don’t want to accept that in the real world some of those children(maybe even their own) are gay or lesbian.

    Well, at least if homosexuality is taught in schools, the parents will have someone to blame, right ?

    A few high-profile acts of decency aside, Smith is basically a pandering clown who excells at having his cake and eating it, too, from a political standpoint. Much like his doubtless-soon-to-be-re-re-re-elected colleague across the aisle. I’m not at all surprised to see him participating in this sort of shit.

  5. 5
    Michelle says:

    “The photo was accompanied by a quote from Senator Smith, saying that marriage ‘is about the tantual rearing and nurturing of children, preparing them for citizenship under the most ideal circumstances possible.’”

    Why must marriage ALWAYS be assumed to revolve around having children? What about those people who either choose not to or physically cannot have children? Does that nullify their marriages? Does that nullify mine, in light of choosing not to have children? I always thought marriage was about a commitment between people who love each other. Some happen to decide that raising children is an important part of what they want from life.

    I support homosexuals’ rights. It is none of my business what they choose to consentually do as a result of their love for each other. I feel that love is love and is a good thing. Is hatred of homosexuals BETTER than their love for each other? I should hope not!!

    I really like this letter you posted in response. If I were as eloquent in my speech, I would have probably said the same thing. Very well done. I hope this nonsense comes to an end for everyone’s sanity.

  6. 6
    Isaac Laquedem says:

    As I look back on my high school years, now little more than a dim memory, I regret that I didn’t get enough heterosexuality then, but it’s too late to relive them.

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