PTA finds support for gay marriage stance through out Bay Area, Palo Alto

The Paly PTSA is throwing its support behind a district-wide PTA resolution opposing any laws or amendments to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

According to Paly PTA president Christine Shambora, the proposition is intended to benefit kids.

"The Paly PTSA is all about the kids, and so is this proposal," Shambora said. "The idea is to allow gay kids and their families to be treated equally in all aspects of society from now and including all future generations."

With the passage of the resolution, the Palo Alto Council of PTAs has become the first board in the country to support gay marriage, according to a recent Associated Press article.

A spokeswoman at the national PTA headquarters in Chicago reportedly said the organization, with 23,000 chapters around the country, is unaware of any similar resolutions.

The actual text of the PTA Council resolution, which passed April 14, reads: "Every child, regardless of sexual orientation, deserves the right to look forward to participating in the recognized, protected, and privileged state of marriage with the person of their choosing and every kind of family deserves the legal recognition, protections and privileges accorded to married couples."

Some members of the faculty and the student body at Palo Alto High School agree with the proposition, but they are unsure if it will have much of an impact.

"I think that it won’t change much since Palo Alto is an open community," senior Alex Rosas said.

However, many see the resolution as a step in the right direction. "I think it’s great that they’re doing it," senior Lillian Raffi said. "I’m just unsure as to the power and jurisdiction that the PTA thinks that it has; I mean, what is it actually accomplishing by accepting the proposition?"

While the relevance of the resolution to PTA goals has been questioned, Shambora defended that the PTA’s decision was not out of line. "We followed the proper procedures," Shambora said. "The majority of families present at the proposal meeting supported the proposal."

Most feedback ragrding the resolution has been positive, and in fact, there has been very little opposition.

"Only three families have said anything negative to me about it," Shambora said.

Kate Hill, president of the Palo Alto Council of PTAs, agreed. "People see it as about the children," Hill said. "Everything that we try to do at the Palo Alto PTA is child advocacy. The idea behind the proposal is two fold, but it’s all about the kids."

According to Hill, the proposal not only opposed the Bush administration’s proposed constitutional amendment narrowly defining marriage, but it also serves as a reminder that the PTA needs to serve all kinds of children and all kinds of families.

According to Hill, the next step is taking the proposition to Sacramento.

"The Palo Alto Council of PTAs now plans to follow through the resolution process set by the national PTA," Hill said. "I hope that the new council in September will continue through and take the proposal to the state assembly."

The proposal will reach the state assembly in early September, 2004.