Maine Department of Education pulls LGBTQ video used by GOP in attack ad

(The Center Square) – Maine’s Department of Education has yanked a video for kindergartenders about same-sex relationships and transgenderism after it was used by Republicans in a political ad attacking Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

The video clip, posted on the Department of Education’s website, was one of hundreds of lesson plans that were developed by educators during the pandemic to help schoolchildren learn from home. The segment featured a kindergarten teacher talking about celebrating “freedom holidays” and explantions of LGBTQ and transgender individuals.

LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning, and is used when describing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

But the department pulled the video from its website earlier this week, saying the content was not age appropriate for kindergartners.

The move comes as the Maine Republican Party unveiled a TV ad criticizing the Mills’ administration for using tax dollars to create LGBTQ lesson plans for kindergarteners.

The attack ad claims Mills spent $2.8 million to create the educational videos that teach “radical school lessons” such as same-sex relationships and transgenderism.

“Is this really what our kids should be learning in kindergarten instead of math, science and reading?” a narrator asks. “Janet Mills’ radical agenda is just wrong for our kids and for Maine.”

In a statement to media outlets, a Mills administration spokeswoman said the governor “was not aware of the lesson” but “understands the concerns expressed about the age appropriateness” and supports the Education Department’s decision to remove the video.

The spokeswoman said Mills “will continue to respect LGBTQ+ people as valued members of the Maine community” but believes decisions about what is taught in public schools should be made by parents, teachers and school boards.

Mills is facing a challenge from former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who is seeking the party’s nomination to challenge her in the November elections.

Outside groups are expected to spend heavily on the gubernatorial race as they did in the 2018 election, when Mills benefited from a massive influx of money from liberal groups.

Republicans view the race as an opportunity to win a governor’s office as they plot a strategy to regain Congress and down ballot races in the midterm elections.

They’ve been focusing on pocketbook issues like the rising gas prices and inflationary costs, but also targeting Mills on thorny social issues that mirror the national GOP’s platform.

Last month, the Maine Republican Party amended its platform to oppose efforts to keep same-sex marriage and transgender identity issues out of public schools.