No On 1 Campaign Counters “Replica” of Ad Used for Prop 8

It seems like I write one of these daily, but No On 1/Protect Maine Equality has again had to refute false claims made in an ad released by Yes On 1.  I assume this ad that was posted on Stand For Marriage Maine today is the one they reference in this release.  Don’t be fooled by fear.  Read No On 1’s reply below.  Be an active involved parent and you never have to be afraid of what is going on in your child’s education.

The NO on 1 campaign today charged that the new political ad opposing Maine’s equality law not only restates a claim that educators, lawyers and Maine newspapers have rejected as false and misleading, but uses an activist to portray the role of a public school teacher.  The NO on 1 campaign also noted that the political ad is an exact replica of the $2 million ad campaign launched to pass Proposition 8 in California last fall.

The teacher in the latest Maine ad is, in fact, the state director of Concerned Women for America.  In addition, Charla Bansley the featured and identified “Ellsworth teacher” does not teach in the public schools, but in a private, Christian school, the Calvery Chapel Christian School.

Bansley has a long history of activism from opposing stem cell research to characterizing marriage equality supporters as “forces of evil.”  She has also opposed diversity training, tolerance classes and anti-harassment programs in the Maine schools, and has been a featured spokesperson in anti-marriage events, including the recent closed rally with national spokespeople this month in the Augusta Civic Center.

“Concerned Women for America has long opposed any measure of fairness or decency when it comes to gay and lesbian Americans,” said Jesse Connolly, NO on 1’s campaign manager.  “They oppose anti-bullying measures in schools and diversity training when, in fact, public schools are simply ensuring an environment where all kids can be safe and can thrive.

“These are extreme views in any context and we believe that Maine voters will see through this cast of characters and focus on the real issue of treating all Maine families with dignity and respect,”  Connolly added.

The NO on 1 campaign noted that the Bangor Daily News and the Lewiston Sun Journal have each editorialized against the false claims that Maine’s marriage equality law would impact anything in the public schools.

The Journal wrote on Sept. 18: “Will same sex marriage be taught in schools, if it becomes legal in Maine? No – nothing in law or curriculum mandates any Maine student be taught about marriage, same-sex or otherwise.”

Also on Sept. 18, the Bangor Daily News editorialized that “. . .the claim by repeal proponents is that schools would be forced to teach ‘gay sex education.’ It is baseless and betrays an ignorance about education.”

The NO on 1 campaign also refers the press and public to a memorandum explicitly refuting the claims about education issued Sept. 18th and signed by Maine Senate President Hannah Pingree, former Maine Attorneys General Steve Rowe and James Tierney, House Chair of Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee Rep. Emily Cain, University of Maine School of Law Dean Peter Pitegoff* and University of Maine School of Law Prof. David P. Cluchey*.

“The fact that the Yes campaign would literally repackage the same ad their California consultants used in California is a testament to the national outsiders pushing their agenda on the voters of Maine,” added Connolly.  “This is nothing more than a tired national playbook concocted by California political consultants and the national groups that pay their way.”

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