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Yes on 8 Campaign Slams New 'No' Ad with Jack O'Connell - O'Connell's New Ad is Only 96% a Lie

Contact: Chip White, Press Secretary-- Northern California, 916-446-2956, chip@protectmarriage.com; Sonja Eddings Brown, Deputy Communications Director-- Southern California, 818-993-4508, sonja@protectmarriage.com; both with ProtectMarriage.com


SACRAMENTO, October 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- The ProtectMarriage.com-Yes on 8 campaign today criticized the "No on 8" campaign's new television ad, released yesterday, which features California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.

The ad raises a new standard for using a small, cleverly worded kernel of truth to foster the Big Lie.

Specifically, the ad discussed whether schools are "required" to teach anything about marriage, and states that they are not.

By this logic, presumably, they would argue that no one in California is required to have a drivers' license, only the people who want to drive cars are.

The real fact, as stated clearly in the "Yes on 8" ads, are that, whether it is technically "required" or not, that virtually all schools in California do teach marriage now, and if gay marriage is legal, they will be REQUIRED to teach about gay marriage as well, because that will be the definition of marriage.

"O'Connell's cleverly worded denials try to trick voters into thinking schools do not teach about marriage," said Chip White, press secretary for Yes on 8. "But for the 96% of public schools that teach sex education, state law requires them to teach about marriage."

The California Department of Education's own website says that 96 % of public schools provide instruction under the Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Act (Educ. Code Sec. 51930, et seq.) and every school that provides instruction under that Act must provide instruction and materials that teach about marriage. Additionally, the Department of Education's own checklist for instruction under the Act confirms that instruction about marriage is required for the school district to be in compliance with state law.

"There is no foundation for O'Connell's untruthful statements that nothing in California law requires teaching about marriage," said Andrew Pugno, general counsel for Yes on 8. "The voters deserve to hear the truth. While O'Connell may personally favor gay marriage, as a public official it is his obligation to tell the truth about California's education laws."

The Yes on 8 campaign sent a letter to O'Connell yesterday (http://protectmarriage.com/news/press-releases) demanding that he retract his misstatements. The letter, which is attached, identifies Education Code sections that demonstrate public schools do teach about marriage, at a rate of 96%.

"Perhaps if O'Connell spent less time making false statements in TV ads," said White, "he'd have more time to read his own website."


Superintendent O'Connell: "Prop 8 has nothing to do with schools...Our schools aren't required to teach anything about marriage..."



California Education Code (EC) 51933 specifies that school districts are not required to provide comprehensive sexual health education, but if they choose to do so, they shall comply with all of the requirements listed below.


… Instruction shall encourage communication between students and their families and shall teach respect for marriage and committed relationships. (http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/se/sexeducation.asp)


FACT: According to a study posted on the California Department of Education's (CDE's) website, 96% of California school districts voluntarily provide classroom instruction under the California Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Act (Education Code, §§ 51930 et seq). That study states:

HIV/AIDS prevention education and sex education are nearly universally taught in California today. Ninety-four percent of surveyed schools provide HIV/AIDS prevention educatio"n, as is mandated by law, and an even larger number, 96%, provide sex education despite having no requirement to do so.
ACLU/PB Consulting report, "Sex Education in California Public Schools," August 2003, page 5.

Superintendent O'Connell: "Using kids to lie about that is shameful..."


FACT: O'Connell seems content to accuse supporters of Prop 8 of "lying" while deliberately ignoring the rules and research of his own department.