TORONTO, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As parents battle the McGuinty Liberal government’s effort to impose homosexual “anti-bullying” clubs on Ontario’s schools, Ontario’s New Democratic Party is taking it a step further by announcing plans to introduce an amendment that would force schools to let the clubs be called “gay-straight alliances.”
Currently McGuinty’s controversial Bill 13 says the clubs can be called “gay-straight alliance or another name,” which has allowed the Catholic schools to instead set up a network of clubs under the name “Respecting Differences”.
But New Democrat MPP and education critic Peter Tabuns (Danforth-Greenwood) has revealed that his party is planning to introduce an amendment that would force Catholic schools to allow students to use the name “gay-straight alliance” if they choose.
The amendment “will allow students to determine the name of the group,” Tabuns told Xtra. “We also think [Education Minister Laurel Broten] should closely monitor the implementation of the bill in schools.”
Bill 13 was introduced on November 30th and received second reading at Queen’s Park on March 26. It comes as part of McGuinty’s stated effort to reform the “attitudes” of the province’s children on homosexuality.
“Allowing students in schools to set up support networks gives them the security of being together and reduces the isolation that we all know can be, literally, deadly,” Tabuns remarked.
Ontario’s Catholic bishops have opposed GSAs, saying they encourage early self-identification as homosexual.
And pro-family advocates have charged that the groups encourage the normalization and affirmation of the homosexual lifestyle, and promote homosexual activism by tying youth into a cross-continent network of activists.
Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier has said that McGuinty’s bill, which has been criticized by religious groups for its strong emphasis on sexual orientation, “reaches the zenith of downright stupidity” and manipulates recent suicides by homosexual teens for “political gain.”
“Bill 13 is little more than a poorly disguised pacifier intended to create a perception that not only is the government acting, but is also compassionate and sympathetic toward children who are bullied,” wrote Hillier (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington) in a strongly worded op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen in January.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) has pointed out that the bill would actually increase the isolation bullied children might feel.
“Rather than permitting students to learn about their differences and recognize their commonalities in equity clubs, this Bill specifically sets out to isolate students into issue-specific groups,” the EFC argued.
“Attempting to address an issue as complex as bullying by legislative force is debatable,” the EFC said, adding that the “approach adopted by Bill 13 lacks sensitivity, flexibility, and a full consideration of proper application of the Constitution Act, 1867, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code.”
David McNorgan, president of the Catholic School Chaplains of Ontario, says the name of the clubs should not be the focus of debate.
“The naming of the club is not crucial,” he told the Catholic Register. “I think everybody is going to be able to live without calling them GSAs. But as far as practical pastoral care for our kids, we’re going to be able to do it under different banners.”
Tabuns told LifeSiteNews that he will reveal the exact wording of his amendment when the bill reaches committee stage.