Telling the truth


Fact Checking the Marriage Amendment

Those seeking to limit the freedom of same-sex couples to marry in Minnesota will make a lot of claims about marriage and family, and they’ll say a lot of misleading things to try and convince Minnesotans to Vote Yes on November 6.

This is the truth.

The Claim

“If gay marriage happens here, schools could teach that boys can marry boys." (Source: Minnesota for Marriage - "Untitled Massachusetts Schools" TV ad, 00:01)

The Truth

This amendment is about marriage – and whether Minnesota wants to permanently limit the freedom to marry for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples. It has nothing to do with educational policy in Minnesota, and the way that children are raised or educated will not be changed as a result of this vote.

The Claim

“When Massachusetts redefined marriage, schools taught it to children in second grade, including the school our son attended.”  (Source: Minnesota for Marriage - "Untitled Massachusetts Schools" TV ad, 00:07)

The Truth

This amendment is about marriage – and whether Minnesota wants to permanently limit the freedom to marry for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples here in our state. It has nothing to do with educational policy here in Minnesota.

This claim has already been thoroughly refuted by both national and local media outlets. This July, Minnesota Public Radio Poligraph called this claim misleading, finding: “there’s no evidence that same-sex marriage is taught throughout Massachusetts, and the state doesn’t require such curriculum.” In 2010, PolitiFact looked into this claim when used in Rhode Island and called it false.

The Claim

“Courts ruled parents had no right to take their children out of class or even be informed when this instruction is going to take place.” (Source: Minnesota for Marriage - "Untitled Massachusetts Schools" TV ad, 00:15)

The Truth

As the Court of Appeals ruled: “Massachusetts does have a statute that requires parents be given notice and the opportunity to exempt their children from curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71, § 32A. The school system has declined to apply this statutory exemption to these plaintiffs on the basis that the materials do not primarily involve human sexual education or human sexuality issues.”
(pp 3-4)

The Claim

“If marriage is redefined in Minnesota, same-sex marriage could be taught in local schools, just as it was in Massachusetts.” (Source: Minnesota for Marriage - "Untitled Massachusetts Schools" TV ad, 00:18)

The Truth

The amendment on the ballot here in Minnesota has nothing to do with what will be taught in schools. It is about whether Minnesota wants to permanently limit the freedom to marry for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples here in our state.  

The proposed amendment reads: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?” and says nothing about the curriculums in our state’s schools.

The Claim

“Don't make the same mistake and think that gay marriage won't affect you.” (Source: Minnesota for Marriage - "Untitled Massachusetts Schools" TV ad, 00:25)

The Truth

When this amendment is defeated here in Minnesota, there will be no change to our state’s laws or statutes as a result. Marriage for gay and lesbian couples will still not be legal and schools’ curriculums will not be changed. Parents will continue to teach their children their family’s values at home.

The Claim

"Vote yes on amendment one to protect marriage." (Source: Minnesota for Marriage - "Untitled Massachusetts Schools” TV ad, 00:28)

The Truth

A Yes vote on this amendment will not protect marriage; it will only limit the freedom to marry by excluding committed and loving gay and lesbian couples from marriage.

The Claim

“When same-sex marriage has been imposed elsewhere, it has not been live and let live.” (Minnesota for Marriage TV ad, "Not Live and Let Live," 00:01)

The Truth

None of the claims in this ad have anything to do with the impact of this amendment or with marriage. A No vote on this amendment will not legalize same-sex marriage. There is already a law on the books in Minnesota prohibiting it.

In cases where people have acted in violation of state or federal anti-discrimination laws they have faced charges or civil complaints, as they would in any state – regardless of that state’s marriage laws.

The Claim

“People who believe marriage is one man and one woman have faced consequences.” (Minnesota for Marriage TV ad, "Not Live and Let Live," 00:05)

The Truth

None of the stories presented in this ad are as a result of the belief in marriage for same-sex couples. Those who have acted in violation of state or federal anti- discrimination laws have faced charges as they would in any state – regardless of that state’s marriage laws.

The Claim

“Small businesses fined," (Image of Wildflower Inn, Vermont) (Minnesota for Marriage TV ad, "Not Live and Let Live," 00:10)

The Truth

The claim regarding the Wildflower Inn in Vermont is intentionally misleading. This occurrence has nothing to do with marriage laws in Vermont. A complaint regarding this incident was filed under the Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which states that public businesses and entities cannot discriminate or deny service based on race, sexual orientation, gender or any number of other factors.

The Claim

“Individuals fired,” (Minnesota for Marriage TV ad, "Not Live and Let Live," 00:12)

The Truth

While amendment proponents suggest that Mr. Goddard was fired for his public opposition to same-sex marriage, Mr. Goddard himself has admitted that it is entirely possible that this statement about marriage had nothing to do with his termination.

In fact, the network from which he was fired released a statement regarding their dismissal of Goddard that made no mention of his views on same-sex marriage. The statement read, “Mr. Goddard was a freelance contractor and in recent weeks it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization.”

The Claim

“Charities closed down.” (Minnesota for Marriage TV ad, "Not Live and Let Live," 00:13)

The Truth

The legalization of marriage for same-sex couples in Washington, D.C. had nothing to do with Catholic Charities decision to discontinue adoptions. Catholic Charities chose to discontinue their adoption program rather than obey long-standing non-discrimination laws.

Similar claims have been made about the Catholic Charities of Boston regarding their decision to end adoption services in 2006. The chair of their board at that time recently came forward to clarify that they stopped adoption services because the Vatican demanded it, saying, “People are suggesting that it had something to do with the [same-sex marriage law] that allowed for marriage equality. That’s not correct.”

The Claim

“Churches sued.” (Minnesota for Marriage TV ad, "Not Live and Let Live," 00:15)

The Truth

This claim has nothing to do with the issue at hand here in Minnesota, and passing or defeating this amendment has nothing to do with such an accusation. Minnesota’s laws already protect people from discrimination and protect religious institutions from lawsuits.

The Claim

“Same-sex marriage taught to young children in elementary school and parents have no legal right to be notified or to take their children out of class that day." (Minnesota for Marriage TV ad "Not Live and Let Live," 00:16)

The Truth

This case has nothing to do with passing or defeating this amendment. This amendment is about limiting the freedom to marry here in Minnesota and it has nothing to do with educational policy here or in Massachusetts. Additionally, we know that children are taught their most important values at home, from their families, not in schools.

The materials that were in the school were simply books that displayed the various forms that a loving family could take. The book featured gay parents, lesbian parents and single parents but made no reference to marriage in any way. The books were not required reading as a part of the Massachusetts educational curriculum.

The Claim

“The government of Ontario is demanding that Catholic schools comply with its ‘Homosexualist Equity and Inclusive Education’ strategy in public schools. A government official said implementing homosexual clubs is ‘not a matter of choice." (Source: Minnesota for Marriage's "Myths & Facts" page)

The Truth

The proposed constitutional amendment in Minnesota is about limiting the freedom to marry for committed and loving couples.  It has nothing to do with educational policy and it is completely inaccurate to compare Minnesota to Canada on this issue.

Additionally, this is not even the reality in Canada.  School boards are provided flexibility in developing such policies based on local needs and circumstances.  Gay straight alliances are not mandated and all that is required of schools is that they “support a positive school climate that fosters and promotes equity, inclusive education and diversity.”

The Claim

"Very few same-sex couples are raising children." (Source: Minnesota Marriage Minute, Episode 17 - April 24, 2012)

The Truth

Thousands of Minnesota same-sex couples are raising healthy and happy children already.  As a part of the last census, 16% of the more than 10,000 gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota were raising children. 

The Claim

"Redefining marriage will impact all of Minnesota society because it will change the definition for everyone."  (Source: Marriage Minute, Episode 8 — February 21, 2012)

The Truth

Gay and lesbian couples do not seek to change the definition of marriage, they simply seek to join marriage as it exists now. We all agree that marriage is unique and it is special. It is a one-of-a-kind vow of love, commitment, fidelity and responsibility to one another. And it is the freedom to make that promise in marriage that gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota one day hope to be able to make.

It is also important to know that, even when this amendment fails, state statute will still prohibit gay and lesbian couples from marrying. 

The Claim

"The family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by the biological mother and father." (Source: Minnesota Marriage Minute, Episode 14 — April 3, 2012)

The Truth

Scientific and medical research has shown that the gender of a child’s two parents has no effect on the child’s long term health, happiness or emotional development.  The American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and numerous other medical organizations have all confirmed that the most important factor in the well-being of children is stability and presence of two loving and committed parents – regardless of their gender or orientation.

The Claim

"Legal experts on both sides of the issue say [if gay marriage is legalized] there will be an immense volume of litigation against individuals, small businesses, and religious organizations." (Source: Marriage Minute, Episode 8 — February 21, 2012)

The Truth

When this amendment fails, gay marriage will not be legalized in Minnesota.  What amendment supporters are referring to are businesses and churches who do not wish to perform marriage ceremonies or provide services to same-sex couples.  

Churches would never be forced to marry two people they did not want to marry.  They have religious exemptions from discrimination laws based on their status as religious entities and could not be sued for refusing to perform a wedding ceremony.  

Businesses, regardless of the outcome on this amendment, will still be held accountable to long-standing state and federal anti-discrimination laws.  These laws would prevent them from denying service to anyone based on their race, gender, sexual orientation or a number of other factors.

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