Over the horrified screams of Catholic groups, the Ontario government is ordering all schools to allow gay-straight alliance clubs.
Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten said there would be no compromises. “Schools need to be safe places for kids to be themselves — and for some kids, that means being able to name a club a gay-straight alliance,” Ms. Broten said. “I don’t think there’s anything radical about allowing students to name a club.” Church sources said they were blindsided and disappointed by the announcement. Cardinal Thomas Collins, the head of the Archdiocese of Toronto, is expected to make a statement on Monday. The change in the provincial Liberals’ new anti-bullying bill — the Accepting Schools Act — is part of a government initiative to create a “safe and accepting climate” in schools, including Catholic schools, Ms. Broten said.
Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins has issued a public letter denouncing the plan.
GSAs are the only particular method or strategy mentioned by name in Bill 13. That is interesting. Now, with the recent change in policy, if any student insists on this particular method, then the trustees and principals who are responsible for the religious foundations of the school are compelled to agree. As pastor of a large diocese, on the road constantly visiting the people, I have again and again heard concern from parents and educators about the proposed imposition of the GSA methodology on Catholic schools. That same concern has been expressed to me by people of other faiths, since parents often choose to send a child to a Catholic High School precisely because they expect a particular approach to life which is largely in harmony with their family and faith convictions.