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Gay marriage finds a supporter in a state education official

An issue that dominated California’s Prop 8 battles is reappearing in New York: whether legalizing gay marriage will have an effect on what children are taught in schools.

In an ad campaign by the Empire State Pride Agenda, a pro-gay marriage group, State Deputy Secretary for Education Duffy Palmer assures people that should marriage equality legislation pass, New York teachers would not be forced to teach children about gay marriage.

A group that opposes gay marriage legislation around the country, the National Organization for Marriage, taunted California voters last November with the idea that children could be taught to embrace gay marriage. In one televised ad, a girl arrives home from school and greets her mother with the news that, according to her teacher, boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls.

The Empire State Pride Agenda predicted that similar ads would appear in New York, and they were right — the National Organization for Marriage released their ads yesterday. The Palmer ad, which was designed to preemptively combat the National Organization for Marriage’s ad campaign, was released in early May and is online-only. In it, Palmer, a former Empire State Pride Agenda board co-chair, tells parents that marriage of any sort has never been, and will never be, a part of New York State’s curriculum.

Empire State Pride Agenda spokesman Josh Meltzer said his organization had approached Palmer about being “a third party validator.” “We wanted to make it very clear that some of the false misinformation campaigns that had gained traction in other states, would not gain traction here,” he said.

The National Organization for Marriage’s education ad:

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