Well-known Mormon Legal Scholar Confirms
Prop 8 has Nothing to do with Education
SACRAMENTO – On the day that the Proposition 8 campaign released a new television ad repeating for the third time a charge that has been exposed as untrue, the NO on Prop 8 campaign challenged the Prop. 8 campaign to end its campaign of deception.
Opponents of Prop. 8 said that the new ad is clearly false – citing an analysis by a respected Mormon scholar finding that the claims included in Prop. 8 ads are completely “untrue” and “misleading.”
Morris A. Thurston, a professor at Brigham Young University law school, confirms what others have been saying for weeks – that the advertising claims that the measure would affect teaching or schools are “untrue” and “misleading,” and that nothing in Prop. 8 would affect California schools. The Thurston memo has been posted to www.mormonsformarriage.com, a website sponsored by Mormons who do not support their Church’s active campaign against gay marriage.
Kate Kendell, an Executive Committee member of the NO on Prop. 8 campaign, issued the following statement:
“I have reviewed this memorandum. It exposes their shameful scheme to deceive the voters. The memo clearly states the Prop. 8 ads are based entirely on claims that are not true.
“Educators and other experts have been saying this for weeks. So have newspapers.
“Now we have it from one of their own – a prominent Mormon scholar who says claims in the Prop. 8 ads are ‘untrue’ and ‘misleading.’
“In his memo, this Mormon scholar concludes Prop 8. has nothing to do with education or teaching.
“What is particularly disturbing is that the Mormon Church has asked its members to fund a campaign based on these lies. As this Mormon scholar says: ‘Relying on deceptive arguments is not only contrary to gospel principles, but ultimately works against the very mission of the Church.’
“There is a reason behind their deception: Californians don’t support taking away rights or treating people differently.
That’s why Californians will vote NO on Prop. 8.”
A Commentary on the Document
“Six Consequences . . . if Proposition 8 Fails”
Morris A. Thurston
An anonymously‐authored document titled “Six Consequences the Coalition Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails” is currently being distributed by a coalition of churches and other organizations in support of Proposition 8, an initiative on the November 2008 California ballot. The intent of Proposition 8 is to overturn the California Supreme Court’s ruling allowing homosexuals to marry.
Most of the arguments contained in “Six Consequences” are either untrue or misleading. The following commentary addresses those arguments and explains how they are based on misinterpretations of law and fact. My intent is to be of service in helping our Church avoid charges of using falsehoods to gain a political victory. Relying on deceptive arguments is not only contrary to gospel principles, but ultimately works against the very mission of the Church.
The original document text is in Times Roman font; my responses are in Calibri italics font. Six Consequences the Coalition [in Support of Proposition 8]
Has Identified If Proposition 8 Fails
1. Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage.
The California Education Code already requires that health education classes instruct children about marriage. (#51890)
Therefore, unless Proposition 8 passes, children will be taught that marriage is between any two adults regardless of gender. There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children their own values and beliefs.
Response: This is untrue. California Education Code 51890 provides that “pupils will receive instruction to aid them in making decisions in matters of personal, family, and community health.” The focus is on health. The statute provides for community participation, including lectures by practicing professional health and safety personnel from the community. Things that are to be taught include, for example,
Morris Thurston received his undergraduate degree in political science from BYU and his law degree from Harvard Law School. He recently retired as a senior partner with a global law firm, where he specialized in litigation and intellectual property law. He is a legal consultant to the Joseph Smith Papers Project, an adjunct professor at BYU Law School and co‐author (with his wife) of the recently‐published book “Breathe Life into Your Life Story: How to Write a Story People Will Want to Read.” He is an active member of the LDS Church.
See Related: MARRIAGE EQUALITY
See Related: PRESIDENTIAL DECISION 2008
VOTE NO ON CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 8