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Students' same-sex mock wedding raises some hackles

Original post made on Feb 14, 2013

Parents at Monday's Mountain View-Los Altos board meeting expressed concerns over an unusual event scheduled to be held on Valentine's Day at Mountain View High School.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 14, 2013, 12:56 PM

Comments (28)

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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm

So we cannot even so much as mention God in school as the mere word would offend people, yet this crap is OK?


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Posted by PL
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm

PL is a registered user.

Quote:She read the definition of the word "mock" -- "to treat with contempt and ridicule."

Nelson needs to learn how to use a dictionary correctly before sending off such a loaded email. "Mock" is used as an adjective in this case which can mean
adj (prenominal)
1. sham or counterfeit
2. serving as an imitation or substitute, esp for practice purposes a mock battle mock finals See also mock-up

Obviously its purpose is not to "mock" a same-sex wedding.


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

The key to progress and unity is for everyone to embrace the First Amendment. Everyone needs to stop trying to silence the viewpoints that they oppose. We all need to start listening to each other and vigorously debating the issues of the day, including which forms of sexual behavior should be deemed legitimate and which forms should be deemed perverse. We all need to seek truth humbly. This begins by speaking our truth to the best of our ability and then LISTENING to opposing voices.

The queer community must not be allowed to silence the "marriage norm" by arranging for the definition of the word "marriage" to change. The press should be giving equal time to presenting the conservative viewpoint rather than ramming the queer viewpoint down all of our throats.

Let the students hold a queer wedding on the campus. Let them call it a wedding. Let them present it as the beginning of a mock marriage. Let them SPEAK FREELY their viewpoint, using whatever terms they choose. Then let others, both students and the adults of the community, speak in support or in opposition to the queer viewpoint spoken in the quadrangle. Let us finally have vigorous, uncensored, energetic, respectful, and humble debate. Let the community be united, not by a common viewpoint, but by a common commitment to seeking Truth by listening to and respecting one another.


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Posted by adam
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm

adam is a registered user.

I love people that know if they say what they feel they'll sound bigoted so instead they change the wording so they'll sound reasonable and unbiased. Let's face it. I'm a student at MVHS. This article has numerous flaws, is written in a biased tone, etc...


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Posted by adam
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm

adam is a registered user.

If you like I can point out every single flaw in the article:

1. The Title: Bringing attention to 3 mothers ( who are likely very religious) out of the 1400 in the school
2. I can guarentee to you that clubs and ASB hold events at the quad almost daily. Culture clubs sell food, ASB hold water balloon fights, gingerbread houses, etc..
3. Hulse obviously believes in the concept that " I'm for free speech as long as it doesn't conflict with my values" which pretty much defeats the purpose of free speech
4. Astonishly, and hilariously, this article manages to mention queer several times. Calling the MVHS Gay- Straight Allaince the "Queer" Straight Alliance. Also mentioning the marriage would be certified by "the queer". It was of course meant to be certified by the "queen", Annalivia Chen, who was voted the Homecoming Queen by the majority of the school despite the fact that she was not straight.
5. I have it from several sources that Ms. Nelson was responded to and the article misquoted her or she "misspoke". In addition, the quoting of the "equality" clause of the club makes no sense and as mentioned above she should start reading the dictionary and realize that some words can have multiple meanings
6. The wedding held at lunch was not exclusively for gay people to get "fake-married". Girls and Boys got "married" to which means there was equality. I just wanted to get the point across because this article couldn't seem to.
7.The author of the article fails to include any other sources. He only interviews or discusses people who are blatantly against this. I can guarentee you that the vast majority of MVHS students, staff, and parents would be perfectly supportive or ambivalent about the wedding.
8. This article gets its facts so misconstrued, is so one-sided that it is laughable and if today were April 1st I would have called it a hoax..


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Posted by Nick V
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Feb 14, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Nick V is a registered user.

Hi Adam,

I am sorry if you feel this article is biased. That was certainly not my intention. I do my best to ensure that none of my articles ever take a position.

I did make attempts to reach out to the club's advisor — both by phone (and a voicemail) and by email. I still have not received a response that I know of.

The school's website named the club as the gay-straight alliance. However, the MVHS daily bulletin from which I quoted (and from whence the typo "queer" instead of "queen" originated) identified the event as the "Queer-Straight Alliance Mock Wedding." I found it identified as such (along with the typo) in two bulletins — Feb. 11 and Feb. 12.

If you'd like to talk to me for future stories on this topic, please contact me at nveronin@mv-voice.com.

Thank you for reading,
Nick Veronin


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2013 at 7:06 am

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

Silencing opposing viewpoints can be done in several ways. One way is to attempt to redefine a word, such as "marriage", so that the opposing viewpoint can no longer even be expressed. Another way is to attempt to force opponents to use vocabulary that you choose. Another way is to scream "hate speech" and to defame anyone who dares to speak an opposing viewpoint. All of these tactics are plainly visible in the current conflict over what the word "marriage" does, and should, mean.

"Queer" is the correct word to use to refer to sexual nonconformers as a whole, i.e. to the "LGBT..." community. Queer encompasses anyone who rejects "the marriage norm", which defines the rights and duties of a mated male and female, says that all should marry, says that sexual behaviors outside of the context of marriage are immoral, and prescribes punishments to enforce the norm.

One easy way to see that "queer" is the correct word is to note that "gay" is represented by one of the letters (G) in the LGBT... acronym. Another way to see it is to surf the web and note how many LGBT... groups use the word "queer" to refer to their group. (see for example Web Link).

Do not ever let other people choose the words that you "are allowed" to use to express your viewpoint. Do not ever attempt to force your opponents to use vocabulary that you prefer.

The most stunning thing about Nick Veronin's article is that it presents the conservative viewpoint. I challenge anyone to come up with a single example, other than Nick's article, in any of the local newspapers, that even mentions the conservative viewpoint in any way that is more substantial than a slur in passing. I challenge anyone to find a single instance in which a local newspaper does not present the queer viewpoint that "marriage" should no longer be limited to a male / female couple as a fait accompli, as a change in definition that has supposedly already occurred.


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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 15, 2013 at 8:36 am

Otto Maddox is a registered user.

If you look at this at face value these kids are promoting an illegal activity.

Because as we all know gay marriage is illegal in the state of California.

Like it or not, that's a fact.


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Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 8:52 am

Waldo is a registered user.

@ Adam - You express yourself extraordinarily well. The MV-Voice would do well to employ your journalistic talents.

@ Ideafarm - Your comments are unintelligible. Go away.


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

Mr. Waldo, I hold a "Ph.D. Lite" from the University of Chicago in mathematical economics, one of the most difficult analytical disciplines in all of the sciences. Three Nobel Laureates were personally involved in my graduate education. I was admitted on a full scholarship (as a Hillman Scholar). Before the end of my first quarter there, I was in addition awarded a fellowship that was administered and funded by a Sloan Fellow. During my time at the University of Chicago, the Department of Economics chose me as the departmental nominee for the campus-wide Danforth Fellowship.

If you, or anyone else here, find what I say to be unintelligible, I would be pleased to accept you as a student, and will tutor you formally or converse with you informally. Be a worthy, respectful student, and I will do my best to be a worthy teacher.

Proposition: Subscribe to and participate in The IdeaFarm (tm) Organizer at Web Link. Help me launch that forum for uncensored speech. In return, I will give you all that I have to give as a teacher, as a civic activist, and as a fellow member of this community.


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Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

Waldo is a registered user.

@ Ideafarm - Your "lite" credentials are likely under your original name, before your congnition took a turn for the worse. Based upon your conduct in Mountain View, your tutelage could only be valued as entertainment, and otherwise counterproductive.


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

Mr. Waldo, the records office at the University of Chicago can verify my academic credentials for you if you provide them with my legal name, which is Wo Of Ideafarm. Ditto for UCLA. See "bio" on Web Link for more information, including what I mean by "Ph.D. Lite".

Please specify what conduct you are referring to. I live a simple life. I write software, I study the law, and I speak with signs.

Perhaps you will be kind enough to also specify the basis for your insulting reference to my cognition, your opinion that it has taken a turn for the worse, and why that would be relevant, even if true.

I am pursuing this because your posts exemplify the selfish, spoiled, bratty, infantile behavior that is so common in these anonymous forums and that ruins them for everyone except people like you. Perhaps you will have the courage to post under your real name rather than hide behind the anonymous "Waldo". People like you disgust me.


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Posted by shk224
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

shk224 is a registered user.

I'm sad to see so many negative, narrow comments here, and so few in support of the students. I laud their tolerance and inclusivity.

To "Waldo," "USA," and the parents objecting to the event: You can wrap bigotry in the mantle of religion, but it's still bigotry. Your words are a lamentable echo of the sentiments expressed by Southern white supremacists during the Civil Rights movement fifty years ago.

I'm so glad that many of Mountain View's high schoolers are more open-miinded than their parents seem to be.


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Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Waldo is a registered user.

@ Ideafarm - In just two replies, you have shown who you really are, as exemplified in the following MV-Voice article from two years ago: Web Link, and, just this week: Web Link.


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Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Waldo is a registered user.

@ shk244 - Please see my first post, in which I praised Adam, whose extraordinarily well written post supported the event.


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Posted by nicole
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 15, 2013 at 3:27 pm

nicole is a registered user.

I second the kudos to Adam, and am proud of the whole group for hosting the event. For the complaint that this is "illegal" - we count on progressive people to fight unjust laws. This seems like a beautiful way to highlight the issue. I agree, the fact that one parent completely screwed up the definition of "mock" (mock apple pie, anyone?) is more likely a way to sound less bigoted than she is. My college had a kiss-in one day, for same-sex couples, and the fear that caused in people terrified they might accidentally see two people of the same sex giving each other a mild peck, was astounding. Face your fears and maybe you'll understand why this is such an important issue.


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Posted by MVHS student
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

MVHS student is a registered user.

Although the writer of this article says he tried to be as unbiased as possible, this is just terrible journalism. You NEED to get both sides in order to be as objective. Nick Veronin could have easily gone to the school event and interviewed students who supported or participated in it. He has absolutely no excuse in this case, so stop making them.

If Nick really wants to right his wrong, he needs to publish an article that shows the other perspective on this issue.


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Posted by Nick V
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Feb 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Nick V is a registered user.

MVHS Student,

Please help me write a follow up article with a wider array of viewpoints. You can email me at nveronin@mv-voice.com and we can arrange a time to talk.

Thanks,
Nick


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Posted by SallyVP
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm

SallyVP is a registered user.

I think Adam did a very good job of rebutting the article. It sounds like the event was an appropriate way to celebrate Valentine's Day and point out a current controversy in the state of California - fun and educational, what more could you ask? The fact that opposite-gender and same-gender weddings were held means that everyone's views were represented. Seems to me the Gay-Straight Alliance lived up to its name, providing an entertaining experience for the whole school.


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2013 at 8:44 am

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

Another reply of mine has been censored / suppressed / deleted here. The freedom to speak is not just about the speaker's right to express his viewpoint. It is also about your right to hear all viewpoints.

Mountain View needs an uncensored forum to discuss this controversial, divisive, and important issue. "The IdeaFarm (tm) Organizer" at Web Link is an uncensored forum that includes a subscriber-only WordPress forum.

I am keeping a record of before/after snapshots of every instance of censoring / suppression / deletion of my posts here. You can view yesterday's censoring now. I will have today's censoring uploaded by the end of today.


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Posted by Leah Higgins
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Leah Higgins is a registered user.

I am a sophomore that attends MVHS, and I'm a member of ASB and several clubs on campus.
I support The Oracle and I support the QSA.
These moms and the biased Voice articles need to stop.
I've found MVHS to be one of the most inclusive, positive, and accepting schools in the area through programs like Camp Everytown, Challenge Day, MVHS Compliments, teachers like Mr. Blair, Ambassadors Club, resources like our Tutorial Center, all the positive clubs and extra classes offered here, the 'Miss Representation' movie screening last year, the diversity in our Homecoming Court this year, the positive principles taught to ASB through Core Camp, specific student actions, and lots more.
I think that's the kind of thing that MVHS deserves press and recognition about, not these controversies being brought up by only three mothers out of over 1400 students at this school.
Their complaints, claims, and requests throughout the past few months have been so numerous and ridiculous its hard to fact bust them all at once, however:
- As one of my peers in ASB said "Having drug-sniffing dogs at our dances won't stop kids from doing drugs. It will just stop kids from coming to our dances" and as several have pointed out, the revenue from dances is much-needed by our school and its programs
(additionally, drug sniffing dogs are super impractical, AND we already randomly breathalize at our dances)
- Their claim that drug and alchohol use is worse at Mountain View than other schools in the area was "evidenced" by their poll of 34 non-randomly selected students with biased poorly-phrased questions which you can see here Web Link, and to be completely candid we all know its much worse at some other schools around here ... cough cough st. francis, paly, etc
- The parents were mad that an informational article about drugs in a previous Oracle article didn't have an anti-drugs slant. Thats asking for propaganda. And as The Oracle is an outside-funded, student-run newspaper, the Oracle doesn't have to (and shouldn't) subject our students to propaganda.
- The parents claim to be upset about dress code enforcement at our school. However, if you look closer what they're really saying, they're offended by the enforcement of the dress code pertaining to GIRLS. (i.e. dresses being too short, midriffs showing, etc) I think this is regressive and offensive because to suggest that girls must be covered up, hidden, sexually repressed, etc is offensive to us and the women who've worked for centuries to get us to the point where we can wear what we want. Not to mention the fact that you can't even FIND longer dresses or shorts these days, which shows that times simply change.
- They say they're not attacking the students, but their actions show otherwise. They've tried to manipulate ASB, attack our teachers, administration, and School Board (all who work very hard for us), they're trying to take away/ruin things such as our dances, our newspaper, and activities. This can all be seen as an attack on us. And because our newspaper is student-run, the attacks on it PROVES this to be an attack on students. (not to mention they've attacked individuals on the newspaper, too, causing personal friends of mine to cry)
- The anger at the QSA mock wedding is homophobia plain and simple. The claim made at the school board meeting about other clubs not getting to have activities outside of classrooms is just FALSE. ASB, Ambassadors, NHS, cultural clubs, etc. have lunchtime activities and even fundraisers in the quad all the time. The QSA went through all the necessary measures (activity request forms, ASB approval, etc) to hold a lunchtime activity in the quad.
- The attack on the word "mock" for "making contemptual fun of the institution of marriage" is pathetic as well. We have a Mock Trial club, do these parents have an issue with that, too?
- The Mock Wedding was a fun activity with the intention of inclusivity. I think its important for us to recognize that it WAS very inclusive and students DID have tons of fun at this activity. There was positive statuses, pictures, tweets, and instagrams about it all over our virtual community. And in terms of inclusivity, not only same sex couples were allowed to "marry", and you didn't even have to really be a real "couple". Tons of friends "got married" just for the fun of it, to show eachother appreciation, get the photo-op, or even just to get a free ring pop or apple cider.
- As these parents may feel an agenda was shoved down throats in the Mock Wedding (a claim with which I disagree), I feel that they are shoving their agendas down our entire school's throat. I know for a fact all three of these mothers are Mormon -- that's fine and they have their freedom to their religion -- but we just as equally deserve freedom FROM their religion being shoved down OUR throats, especially in a public school setting.
I think these mothers are causing more problems instead of fixing ANY. Despite their claims that they aren't attacking students, I am a student and I feel very attacked. Other students have expressed to me they feel attacked as well. What these mothers want & believe in simply does not line up with what the majority of the school's students, teachers, and parents want & believe in. I don't appreciate the way these parents have gone about this, I don't like their ideas, and I don't appreciate the misinformation and biased perspectives being spread by the MV Voice.


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Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Waldo is a registered user.

@ Ideafarm - Your comments are unintelligible. Go away.


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2013 at 6:31 am

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

Ah, Mr. Waldo. Which word or words are you having difficulty with? Censorship? Viewpoint suppression? Deletion of substantive opposing opinion while retaining inane, hostile, empty posts such as yours?

Anyone who would like to understand the viewpoint that I am trying to express can dialog with me, either here or on "The IdeaFarm (tm) Organizer" (where there are no pesky censors). You can also read what I have posted there and discuss it with others. Communication is iterative. It requires sincerity and goodwill and reaching by both correspondents to grasp what the other is saying. It is work, hard work. It is also sacramental. Communication, at its best, is love.


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Posted by Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern is a registered user.

Leah Higgins, I believe you hit the nail on the head when you wrote, "The Mock Wedding was a fun activity with the intention of inclusivity. I think its important for us to recognize that it WAS very inclusive and students DID have tons of fun at this activity."
If your event made students of all sexual orientations feel that their love was celebrated, and their dream of one day marrying whoever wants to marry them affirmed, then it was successful. And that is exactly the objection of the parents quoted above.

Some people in our community would like to deny the rights of their LGBTQ neighbors, including the right, apparently, even to say that they ARE LGBTQ. (Interestingly, I have never heard anyone say that a man and woman who publish the joyful announcement of their marriage are "rub[bing] it in everybody's faces.")

As the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, which celebrates all loving relationships and works for equality for all, I congratulate you and thank you for your leadership.


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

Rev. Morgenstern, in my opinion, you and several others here have misapplied the concept of inclusivity here. The event raised an important public question and it promoted only one of the two opposing viewpoints. Since it occurred at a public school, it also raised the ancillary issue of whether parents have the right to limit the viewpoints that their children and teenagers are exposed to. Neither the event nor the discussion in this forum has shown any tolerance or respect for either opposing viewpoint.

Your post suggests that the issue centers on "love". I disagree and suggest that the issue is not love, but rather sexual acts. A pedophile can insist that he loves his victims, but society rightly sets his claim aside and punishes him. A necrophile or someone who performs sexual acts with animals can make similar claims, but again society rightly would set those claims aside and punish those acts.

Society's interest in regulating sexual behavior is closely related to its interest in promoting the development of its children into good, strong men and women.

This event raised the following public issue: Where should the line be drawn between sexual behaviors that society deems to be "normal", i.e. legitimate, and sexual behaviors that society deems to be morally wrong, illegitimate, perverted, etc.

What I will call "the marriage norm viewpoint" says that all sexual behavior outside of the context of a mated male and female is a perversion, i.e. is to be discouraged by society and not promoted, especially to children. What I will call "the queer viewpoint" says that some sexual behavior outside of that context should also be deemed by society to be fully acceptable and presented to children as an alternative lifestyle.

The high school event that we are discussing was a speech event. It should have served as an opening to a vigorous, respectful dialog on the high school campus, and in the larger community, in which both viewpoints are given full, vigorous expression and respectful consideration. For this event to be a true success, from the point of view of vigorously free speech as part of participatory self government, it must be followed by events in which high school students who are opposed to "the queer viewpoint" are allowed to express opinions such as "QUEERS ARE PERVERTS". Unless the event is followed by vigorous expression of the opposing view, no claim of tolerance can be made either by the student body or by the queer community.

To sum up, the two opposing viewpoints on the public question that this event raised can be accurately and concisely stated as:

"QUEERS ARE PERVERTS"
versus
"SOME QUEERS (e.g. GAYS, LESBIANS, BISEXUALS, AND TRANSGENDERS) ARE NOT PERVERTS"

It is really just about where to draw the line, and intelligent people who share the same core values of liberty and justice for all can reasonably disagree. The right way to eliminate the disagreement is to listen to each other with open minds. The wrong way is to silence the people who you disagree with. I've known enough gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders to be sympathetic to their position. I could easily be convinced that the "line" should be moved. What bothers me mainly is the silencing, the viewpoint intolerance, the unwillingness to listen to opposing voices.


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Posted by Skuborssy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Skuborssy is a registered user.

I graduated from MVHS in 2012, and I know first hand that all clubs on campus, on the daily, "rub it in everybody's faces". This article makes me sick.
Kudos, Adam for saying it like it is.


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

Skuborssy, let's talk to each other, and listen to each other. What exactly in Mr. Veronin's article makes you sick? Did he make a significant factual error? Did he spin something to favor a particular viewpoint? Please be specific.

I thought that this was one of Mr. Veronin's better pieces. He works under very tight deadlines. With this article, he managed to raise a public question up for discussion by the community in a way that didn't promote either "the queer viewpoint" or "the marriage norm viewpoint".

One of the (for me) unexpected payoffs that Mr. Veronin's article gave to our community is that we learned here that public school pupils of all ages have full First Amendment rights here in California. We learned this because someone provided this information here. Mr. Veronin's role is only to report facts as best he can so that a public conversation can get a proper start on secure footing. It is up to us to detect and correct any viewpoint bias. We must do this by being specific. Merely saying that Mr. Veronin's writing made you sick is disrespectful and does not move the conversation forward.

The event that we are discussing was speech that promoted "the queer viewpoint". Did that speech begin a civic conversation on campus? Did students who embrace "the marriage norm viewpoint" respectfully picket or heckle the event? Was there any subsequent speech on campus that promoted the marriage norm viewpoint? Have the school administrators or the student body allowed an environment to develop at the school in which only the queer viewpoint is tolerated, in which the opposing viewpoint cannot even be spoken? What social consequences would be imposed upon an MVHS student who voiced the opinion that gay and lesbian sexuality is morally wrong? Would that person's speech be derided as hate speech? Would that person be categorized as a bigot and ostracized by the student body and the faculty?

The marriage norm viewpoint is that sexual intimacy outside of the context of a mated male and female is morally wrong and should not be promoted in society and especially to children and teenagers. If no student is giving voice to this viewpoint while students are regularly giving voice to the opposing viewpoint, then something is wrong.


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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2013 at 6:49 am

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

I and several people have asked, and no one has answered, this question: Has even a single student given voice to the marriage norm viewpoint?

If no, then someone please say so and then do something about that. If yes, then please describe what was said, how it was said, and how the speech was received by the student body and by the faculty.


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