By Terry Vanderheyden and John-Henry Westen

VANCOUVER, June 1, 2006 ( – A homosexual teacher and his same-sex partner who launched a human rights complaint with the British Columbia government have settled with the Government of British Columbia. According to the homosexual activist who launched a human rights suit, homosexual issues will soon be a mandatory part of school curricula taught in classrooms throughout the province, without the ability of students or parents to opt out.

  BC’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of the Attorney-General agreed to review the province’s curricula to ensure that the issue of homosexuality is included in all so-called ‘social justice’ discussions – such as those involving racial inequality and women’s rights. The decision was the result of a settlement reached with Murray and Peter Corren, who launched their formal human rights complaint in 1999, which alleged “systemic sexual discrimination” in the classroom.

  However, a key element in the Corren complaint was the attempt to ensure that the courses teaching positively about homosexuality are mandatory, and that neither students nor parents are able to opt-out. Speaking at the time of the launch of the human rights action, last July, the activists’ legal council, Tim Timberg, said, “The second issue is there’s an opting-out provision in the curriculum that where a subject is deemed to be sensitive, the school teachers are under an obligation to in advance advise parents that they’ll be raising a sensitive issue in the classroom.”

  Coquitlam teacher Murray Corren told the Vancouver Sun today that the settlement will also make it more difficult for students and parents to opt out of lessons dealing with sexual orientation.

  Attorney-General Wally Oppal said Wednesday that the province was indeed shaping a new ‘social justice’ course that will incorporate the homosexual issues. “I think it’s a fair settlement,” he claimed. “We listened to their [the Correns’] complaints and we decided there was some merit in what they were suggesting.” Oppal added that he hoped British Columbians were a “mature enough society” to accept “that there is an understanding that there is a place for this in our curriculum.”

  A press release from the BC Government notes that in addition to revamping the provinces educational curriculum to ensure it “reflects inclusion” for the homosexual lifestyle, the province is commencing immediately to offer an elective grade 12 course on “justice and equality” which will address “sexual orientation.

  Corinna Filion, spokesman for the Ministry of Education told that the agreement included provisions to bar some parents and students who had been opting for home education or other arrangements on topics of sexuality. While the province will still allow parents and students those alternative options when it comes to sex education (health and career courses), students will be forced to remain in classes dealing with sexual orientation outside of sexual education in spite of any objections students or their parents my have.

“For example in social studies if they are reading a book about same sex families . . . the policy (of allowing for alternative arrangements) would not apply,” explained Filion.

  A copy of the agreement was not available to reporters by press time.

See related coverage:
  B.C. Gay Couple Seeks Mandatory Homosexual School Curriculum Without Parental Opt-Out