OAKVILLE, January 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After a LifeSiteNews story last month revealed that newly-elected Halton Catholic School board trustee Paul Marai is co-chair of a homosexual activist group, he has told the mainstream media that he will accept the school board’s policy relating to homosexuality. Marai did not respond to questions from LifeSiteNews about his gay activism.
Campaign Life Catholics (CLCatholics), the Catholic division of the pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition, has been campaigning to ensure Catholic school policies remain faithful to Catholic teaching on homosexuality in the face of a push by the Ontario government for so-called ‘equity and inclusive education.’
Last month, the Halton board was praised by CLCatholics for remaining faithful to Catholic teaching. However the group feared that the newly-elected gay activist trustee would seek to alter the new Halton policy.
Marai told local media that the Equity and Inclusive Education policy was passed by the previous board and was no longer an issue. “I’ll have to stand behind the policy of the board that was already made,” he told the Oakville Beaver.
“If it comes up again, for me it’s about talking to the people I represent. What I want to know is what they think about the equity policy, and I would craft an argument based on that, and you have to look at other things like policies of other boards and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, what’s within the law and what is not within the law.”
The chair of the board also confirmed to the Beaver that Marai would have to uphold the current policy. “What he does as a private person and what he does as a school board trustee are pretty well separate issues,” she said. “Like anybody’s work or lifestyle, it has nothing to do with the board policy. He knows what his duty is as an elected trustee. The policy had passed, so he will just uphold what the board decision was.”
CLCatholics said they are pleased the promise has been made but remain suspicious, given Marai’s public homosexual activism, and will be watching closely for changes in the policy.
In addition to the local newspaper, the LifeSiteNews coverage garnered attention of the national media, with Global Television covering the story from a perspective in favor of homosexual activism.
The Halton equity policy, which the trustees approved on November 2nd, includes explicit wording to prevent instruction in schools that undermines Catholic teaching in the area of homosexuality, which has been Catholics’ central concern about the government’s equity strategy.
That strategy, which requires all school boards to adopt an equity policy by this fall, has faced strong opposition because it demands that the boards recognize “sexual orientation” as a prohibited ground for discrimination. Critics point out, however, that the Ministry’s documents recommend more than simply prohibiting unjust discrimination; instead they suggest that schools celebrate the Gay Pride Parades, use texts by homosexual authors, and promote homosexual clubs such as gay-straight alliances.
The Halton policy, on the other hand, explicitly bans “gay-straight alliances” and similar clubs, and requires that teachers consult the Catholic Catechism’s teaching on homosexuality (paragraphs 2357-2358) when they address the topic.
The policy also reflects Catholic doctrine on homosexuality more accurately than the template equity policy approved by the Ontario Bishops, which has drawn sharp criticism for recognizing “sexual orientation” as a prohibited ground for discrimination, in direct opposition to a Vatican directive.
The Halton policy makes no mention of “sexual orientation” and notably inserts “unjust discrimination,” whereas the template policy merely condemned “discrimination.” The policy also emphasizes that “equity” and “inclusion” must be interpreted in accordance with Catholic teaching, and are not acceptable unless they do.
“Both in its content and methodology, inclusive curriculum must reflect Catholic teaching,” it states. “While all students should be able to see themselves reflected in the curriculum this goal does not extend to recognition of personal conduct that is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
The policy upholds the Board’s commitment to hiring “practicing Catholics” and to ensuring that instruction is “consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”