In an extraordinary move, proponents of Prop. 8, the initiative that would ban same-sex marriages in California, today challenged opponents to a weekend debate over the question of whether schools would have to teach about same-sex marriages if the measure fails.
The Yes campaign specifically cites the television ad featuring Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell as the reason for proposing the debate.
That can only mean one thing: The O'Connell ad must be moving voters on the issue.
"As you know, one of the central issues in the Proposition 8 debate is whether gay marriage will be taught to California school children should the measure fail to be enacted," the Yes campaign's letter says. "Your campaign has accused the ProtectMarriage.com - Yes on 8 campaign of lying to voters about the measure's impact on public education. You are currently airing television and radio ads featuring Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell specifically denying that Proposition 8 has any impact on schools and accusing us of running a 'shameful' campaign."
The response from the No side -- a flat rejection -- is equally telling about its view of the effectiveness of the O'Connell ad.
"It would be a disservice to the people of California to debate an issue that is completely unrelated to Proposition 8," reads the response. It notes that many state education officials have agreed with O'Connell's assessment.
"The only debate worth having in California is why you have pursued such a deceptive campaign strategy. That debate is one you can conduct alone -- with your conscience."