The anti-gay forces flooding Maine with ads right now have honed in on the issue they think will work: the age-old fear that gay people will corrupt children. In fact, schoolkids will not be in "safe" schools if they are told about the mere existence of gay married couples. Maine's school curriculum has no content that could be used to indoctrinate kids; but it seems to me that the existence of gay married couples should not somehow be excised from what children are taught. Gay marriage is now part of the world's reality. It has been the law in a nearby state for several years. This is a difficult balance, but just as Catholic kids need to know they live in a country where divorce and contraception exist, even though their own church disavows and opposes both, so simple information about gay couples seems to me to be part of a proper education. I think it should veer on the side of extreme caution so as not to offend parents or tilt into propaganda. One reason I back marriage rights is that the existence of such couples in itself is an educational tool that schools simply need to acknowledge, not proselytize for. I think the details are best conveyed by parents, not schools.

But the underlying truth is: this ad is designed to provoke fear of a small minority and its factual basis in Maine does not exist, which is why they have to cite California. Against this kind of fear, reason has a Sisyphean task. But I trust the people of Maine - not an easily intimidated lot - will see through this. Or rather I hope so.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.