TORONTO, ONTARIO, May 4, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – After Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government moved to fast track its controversial homosexual “rights” bill this week, it easily passed a vote at second reading Thursday. It now heads to committee.
The “anti-bullying” bill, known as Bill 13 or the Accepting Schools Act, would force high schools to allow homosexual clubs and seeks to institute tougher penalties for “bullies,” including expulsion.
Legislators passed the measure by a vote of 66-33 on Thursday morning along party lines, with members of the Liberal and New Democratic parties supporting it and the Progressive Conservatives opposing it.
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As a result of a deal between the Liberals and the Tories, both Bill 13 and Bill 14, the Tories’ anti-bully legislation, will now go to the Standing Committee on Social Policy to be combined.
Lisa MacLeod, the Tories’ education critic, says her party opposed the bill because they believe their version is better. The party has been filibustering the bill in protest over the government’s failure to investigate the scandal over Ornge, the province’s beleaguered air ambulance service.
On Wednesday, angered over the Tories’ actions, Liberal House Leader John Milloy invoked a time allocation order to push the bill into committee after only 40 minutes debate from each party.
As a result, the bill could face a final vote by the end of May. The Liberals hope to have it place in time for the new school year in September.
The bill has sparked a huge backlash by parents and religious leaders over concerns that it threatens parental rights and religious freedom, with thousands turning up for protests in recent months.
It was announced in the fall after the high profile suicide of 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, an Ottawa native who self-identified as homosexual.
Toronto Sun columnist Christina Blizzard wrote in December that Bill 13 “sounds more like a political statement about gay rights than a piece of legislation.” For instance, she quoted the bill’s intention to make “schools and communities more equitable and inclusive for all people, including LGBTTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, intersexed, and questioning) people.”
Premier Dalton McGuinty
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