|NUMBER 283||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||AUGUST 2009|
|Some Union Affiliates Already Working for Same-Sex Marriage|
NEA's newly approved action plan on same-sex marriage describes quite well what some NEA affiliates have already been busily doing. The union's California affiliate, the California Teachers Association, donated $1.25 million of teachers' dues money to the campaign to defeat Proposition 8 in 2008. Proposition 8, defending traditional marriage between a man and a woman, passed in November and was upheld by the state Supreme Court, but now faces another challenge in federal court.
An analysis by National Public Radio indicated that the union and its members were not of one accord on the issue: teachers, aides, and counselors in California public schools gave about $450,000 in individual contributions to the effort to pass Proposition 8, and only $210,000 to the proposition's opponents.
NPR interviewed Fred Vanderhoof, one 6th-grade teacher who contributed to Proposition 8. Vanderhoof was not surprised that teachers opposed gay marriage, while union leaders supported it. "I think that as public school teachers, we are with these young people every day and we see the problems that they have — not understanding their sexual identity and their sexual roles, male and female." Vanderhoof called same-sex marriage "one more thing happening that is not going to help them."
On the other side of the issue, NEA stated in a brief it filed: "There can be no question that Proposition 8, if upheld . . . would undermine the very structure and intent of our Constitution to preserve and protect individuals' inalienable rights despite the vicissitudes of majority sentiment." (NPR, 7-21-2009)
"I'm disgusted by the ads that say all teachers say No on Prop. 8," math teacher Brad Barber told the Orange County Register during the campaign season (10-31-08). "Even the teachers who are No on Prop. 8 are upset by the money the union is spending on Prop. 8."