HALTON, Ontario, March 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new equity policy by the Halton Catholic District School Board is facing criticism from both pro-family advocates and homosexual activists.
The policy, which passed first reading on February 15th in a vote of 6-3, was opposed by homosexual activist trustee Paul Marai who says it doesn’t do enough to allow for homosexual student clubs, known as gay-straight alliances (GSAs).
On the other hand, it was also opposed by trustees Anthony Danko and Jane Michael who voted against repealing the previous policy which better protected the integrity of Catholic teaching on homosexuality in the schools.
Notably, the policy lists “sexual orientation” as a protected ground for non-discrimination, an approach condemned by the Vatican. It also allows for the creation of student support and discussion groups known as Safety, Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity (S.I.D.E.) Spaces.
On January 18th, the board scrapped a strong pro-family policy, which was passed in November by an outgoing board. That policy had won praise from pro-family groups for its effort to ensure that only Catholic moral teachings on sexuality would be presented in board schools.
In the interim, the board has been using the Catholic template policy developed by the Ontario Education Services Corporation, which has drawn sharp criticism for including “sexual orientation” as grounds for non-discrimination.
The November policy came under heavy fire from homosexual activists across North America through a campaign focused against the board’s ban of gay-straight alliances (GSAs). That campaign included numerous national news stories, and even a condemnation from homosexual celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.
The effort to rescind the policy was spearheaded by trustee Marai, a 22-year-old homosexual activist elected in October, who was supported by a contingent of groups including Egale and Change.org. They rallied activists from across North America through a petition and an e-mail campaign.
Beyond simply banning GSAs, the board had required teachers to consult the Catholic Catechism’s teaching on homosexuality (paragraphs 2357-2358) when they address the topic, and emphasized that “equity” and “inclusion” must be interpreted in accordance with Catholic teaching, and are not acceptable unless they do.
The board is accepting submissions on the proposed policy until March 11 as part of a public consultation, which is open to stakeholders such as parents, principals, and parish priests.
The nine trustees will discuss the feedback at a policy committee meeting, and then are expected to vote on the new policy sometime in April.
Contact information for trustees:
Alice Anne LeMay (905) 632-6300 [email protected]
Jane Michael (905) 319-6582 [email protected]
Arlene Lantomasi (905) 529-6155 [email protected]
John Morrison (905) 639-4718 [email protected]
Mark Rowe (905) 877-9510 [email protected]
Ed Viana (905) 632-6300 [email protected]
Diane Rabenda (905) 632-6300 [email protected]
Anthony Danko (905) 825-9159 [email protected]