TORONTO, Ontario, May 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As McGuinty’s Liberal government moves to force gay-straight alliance clubs on the province’s Catholic schools, the head of the province’s Catholic trustees says their opposition to the controversial clubs has nothing to do with concerns that they would allow homosexual advocacy in the schools.
In a conference call Monday morning responding to the McGuinty government’s announcement on Friday, Marino Gazzola, president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, was hounded by reporters as he refused to state clear reasons for why the Catholic schools would oppose GSAs.
“Our concern is focusing on the Catholic values and focusing on the safety and security of all students and to ensure that they’re protected,” he said.
Asked directly if the Catholic schools were concerned the clubs would involve homosexual advocacy, Gazzola said: “That’s not our concern.”
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At the same time, Gazzola did acknowledge concerns that the clubs advance a political agenda and do not respect Catholic teaching. “We want them to have a respect for the Catholic teachings, which GSAs do not have as far as we’re concerned,” he said.
Gazzola said he does not think the government is intruding on Catholics’ religious freedom, and refused to say whether the Catholic schools would invoke their denominational rights under Canada’s Constitution should the government’s GSA amendment pass.
“If the amendment passes, our schools and our boards will comply with the legislation,” he said. “If the legislation passes, we expect our boards will obey, but we will still have our options to look at.”
Asked why they would not “call a spade a spade” by letting homosexual clubs be named for what they are, Gazzola said the word ‘gay’ is a distraction.
“We’re focusing on the names and it overshadows the other reasons that students are being bullied,” he said.
He acknowledged however that OCSTA may have approached their opposition to the name GSA differently in hindsight.
“In retrospect we probably may have looked at things different because it distracts, takes away from what the important issue is here, which is respect of all students,” he said.
Most Rev. Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto (ON) M4T 1W2
Tel: (416) 934-3400 #609
Fax: (416) 934-3452
President, Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA)