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Jeremy Dias, founder of Jer's Vision, meets with 11-year-old Quinn Maloney-Tavares and her friend Polly Hamilton after the public kerfuffle over their 'gay rights' project at their Catholic school.Ann Maloney / Twitter

The Ottawa Catholic School Board reversed the decision of one of its principals last week, allowing two grade six girls to go ahead with a project on “gay rights.” Board chairperson Ted Hurley said it had become “clear” that the girls’ purpose was in line with Catholic teaching and merely aimed “to combat the kinds of behaviour and attitudes that can lead to bullying of gay people.”

However, on the weekend the girls were photographed lunching with the founder of a homosexual activist organization that exists to promote the normalization of homosexuality among young people in school.

The photo, taken by one of the girls’ moms and posted to Twitter on Sunday, shows 11-year-old Quinn Maloney-Tavares and her friend Polly Hamilton posing with homosexual activist Jeremy Dias, founder of Jer’s Vision, in an Ottawa-area restaurant.

The tweet read: “Lunch with Jer from Jer's Vision.”

Jer’s Vision, founded in 2005, seeks to eliminate “homophobia” and “transphobia” in schools and youth communities. In 2011, the organization ran a field trip for high school students that included a drag show. Jer’s Vision partners with pro-abortion groups such as Canadians for Choice and pro-prostitution groups such as Maggie’s Sex Work, as well as many pro-homosexual groups.

The organization also offers an LGBTQ curriculum that runs from kindergarten through grade 8. In kindergarten, children learn “new ideas about families” that includes two women or two men “being able to have/make a family together.” By grade 8, students are expected to have become “familiar [with] and understand the terms ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, ‘sexism’, ‘homophobia’, ‘ableism’, ‘racism’, ‘discrimination’, etc.”

Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition called the students’ photo-op with a gay activist “evidence” that the girls’ school project has become an effort to “undermine Catholic moral teaching by using the euphemistic language of ‘human rights.’”

“In general society today, what is meant by ‘gay rights’ is getting everyone to approve of homosexual ‘marriage’ and gay sexual activity as the moral equivalent of real marriage between a man and woman. That’s what the culture understands ‘gay rights’ to mean. That’s certainly what these activist students understand ‘gay rights’ to mean, as evidenced by their photo-op with the gay-activist group, Jer’s Vision,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“If the Catholic School Trustees didn’t have enough reason to reject the ‘gay rights’ project before, the entry of a militant homosexual-activist group on the scene should be the final straw now.”

The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) initially supported the principal of Ottawa’s St. George Catholic School, who disallowed the girls’ project on account of her belief that the topic was inappropriate, but switched gears after massive media coverage from the Ottawa Citizen, CBC, and the Ottawa Sun.

“The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has made it clear that our attitudes to gay and lesbian people should be addressed with love and dignity in an open and transparent way, when he said, ‘Who am I to judge?’” Hurley said on Friday in a press release.

“The core message is that gay rights are a human right and that the underlying attitudes that have led to discrimination need to be addressed in school and in society as a whole,” said Hurley, who also works for the Youth Office in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

OCSB Director of Education Julian Hanlon emphasized that the OCSB is a tolerant and inclusive institution that was even “open to views” contrary to Catholic teaching.

“Unfortunately as the Catholic school system we’re portrayed as being not open to views that might be in opposition to the Catholic Church. But the fact is, we’re a very accepting school board and don’t try to stifle discussions about issues like that — but we do try to keep in mind the teachings of the Catholic Church,” he told the Ottawa Citizen.

Catholic sexual morality holds that sexual acts are exclusively reserved for a man and woman committed to one another in the life-long covenant of marriage. Following Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” since they are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.”

“Under no circumstances can they be approved,” states the Catechism.

While holding that the homosexual “inclination” is “objectively disordered,” the Church stresses that people struggling with homosexual tendencies are to be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

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Meanwhile, Peter Tabuns, MPP for Toronto-Danforth and Ontario NDP education critic, wrote an open letter to Liberal Education Minister Liz Sandals on Friday before the reversal, stating the girls have been “denied their right to undertake this project.”

“I believe it is time for all of us to stand up with these young women, who only wish to stand up for others. Thankfully, Ontario law protects their right to do so. Subsection 303.1(1) of the Education Act mandates that every school board support students who want to engage in activities that promote awareness, understanding, and respect for people of all sexual orientations,” he wrote.

“This legal right of all students could not be more clear: Ontario students of all sexual orientations and their allies can no longer be silenced by other individuals who do not share a belief in social justice and equality, or who fear the consequences of standing up for those beliefs.”

According to Ann Maloney, parent of one of the students, the OCSB has yet to set up a meeting with parents and students to discuss the project. The project has “not yet been approved,” she tweeted yesterday. 

Fonseca said that the only way the girls’ project should go forward while respecting Catholic teaching is if it were stripped of its “loaded” political terms, such as “gay rights” and if the girls were to “clearly present and affirm the Catholic Church’s opposition to sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and woman.”

“Are the students willing to do that?” he asked.