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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
WND Distorts California Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 29 WorldNetDaily article uses alarmist language and the depiction-equals-approval fallacy to distort a new law in California that adds "sexual orientation" to the non-discrimination provisions any group accepting state money must abide by.

That's not how WND described it, though. Here's the article's alarming lead:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has tossed out all sexual moral conduct codes at colleges, private and Christian schools, daycare centers and other facilities throughout his state, if the institutions have any students who get state assistance.

The governor yesterday signed a bill that would require all businesses and groups receiving state funding -- even if it's a state grant for a student -- to condone homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality.

The article goes on to assert that the law means groups must not just "condone" it, it must "endorse such behavior." Another passage asserts that the law "specifically requires 'any program or activity that receives any financial assistance from the state' to support the alternative sexual lifestyle choices."

Such claims assume that because a group isn't allowed to discriminate against gays, it is therefore endorsing or promoting homosexual behavior -- which is a logical fallacy. The article -- using language apparently taken from the Campaign for Children and Families, a California group fighting these proposals, without explicitly stating so -- further promotes the fallacy by asserting that "several other 'sexual indoctrination bills' are heading to the governor":

One would prohibit textbooks or school-sponsored activities from "reflecting adversely" on a certain list of sexual choices.

Another would allow the California superintendent of public instruction to arbitrarily withhold state funds from any district that does not adequately promote the State Department of Education's "model policy" promoting transsexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality in its school policies.

Still another would spend state money promoting transsexual, bisexual and homosexual lifestyles.

Of course, there is no "promoting" involved. The "model policy" bill (AB 606), in fact, amends current law on school non-discrimination programs to permit withholding of state funding to schools who don't show demonstrated progress on the issue. The above description comes from a CCF "analysis."

The "state money promoting transsexual, bisexual and homosexual lifestyles" bill (AB 1056) -- again, language that WND copied from a CCF "analysis" -- is, in fact, for "tolerance education." Tolerance does not equal "promotion."

WND actually diverged from the CCF description of the textbook bill (SB 1437), substituting "a certain list of sexual choices" for the actual list that CCF uses. WND's wording reflects the conservative bias that any non-heterosexual behavior is a "choice."

Needless to say, the WND article quotes only opponents of these bills.

(Hat tip to Sadly, No!, which did a fine job of picking apart not only Kevin McCullough's misleading Aug. 25 WND column on the subject but an AgapePress article that not only signed on to the depiction-equals-endorsement fallacy but even more alarmingly claimed that the newly signed bill "gives homosexuals new and far-reaching powers.")

Posted by Terry K. at 5:08 PM EDT

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