TORONTO, Ontario, June 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The McGuinty government’s controversial homosexual ‘rights’ bill that forces homosexual activist clubs on the province’s schools, including those operated by the Catholic Church, passed its final vote in the legislature Tuesday.
Bill 13 passed at 11:50 a.m. in a vote of 65-36 with support from the Liberal and New Democrat parties, and opposition by the Progressive Conservatives.
The bill’s passage lays the groundwork for a possible constitutional battle with the province’s Catholic bishops.
“The battle begins,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, president of Campaign Life Coalition Ontario. ““The Minister of Education has said she will force the GSAs on Catholic schools, more or less whether they like it or not.”
“I’m hoping that the bishops of Ontario realize what the implications are of this vote and for Catholic schools and will stand firmly with their people behind them,” she continued. “We have to wake up the people who are paying those tax bills about what has just happened in the legislature today.”
The “anti-bullying bill” faced months of protests by parents and pro-family advocates who believe its hyper-focus on homosexual-related bullying represents a threat to parental rights and religious freedom.
The bill requires all publicly-funded schools to allow “gay-straight alliances”, though Ontario Human Rights Commission chief commissioner Barbara Hall has implied the bill could even be applied to private schools.
It required homosexual clubs from the beginning, but gave schools the option to refuse the name “gay-straight alliance” until the government introduced an amendment May 25th. It now requires schools to accept GSAs if requested by a student.
According to Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, the amendment “overrides the deeply held beliefs” of the Church and “intrudes on its freedom to act in a way that is in accord with its principles of conscience.”
The possibility of a legal battle remains unclear as Archbishop Collins said before the vote that that discussion was premature.
Though the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association opposed the “gay-straight alliance” amendment, they signaled that the school boards would obey the law if passed.
“If the amendment passes, our schools and our boards will comply with the legislation,” said OCSTA president Marino Gazzola. “If the legislation passes, we expect our boards will obey, but we will still have our options to look at.”
“The rights of Catholics to their own school system, which is guaranteed under the [British North America Act], are being trampled on,” said Douglas. “It’s time Catholics stood up for their rights.”
She warned also that Bill 13 is not an “Ontario event.” “Believe me, this will be coming to all of the provinces now. They need to watch too,” she said.
See related blog post:
Ontario Bill 13’s two shocks today – Steve Jalsevac