OTTAWA, December 20, 2002 ( – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a school board may not ban pro-homosexual propaganda books targeting children. The books must therefore be made available in the school library. However, the court did give the Board the decision to decide if the books should be in the classroom but stressed that the board must decide that question “according to the criteria laid out in the curriculum guidelines and the broad principles of tolerance and non-sectarianism underlying the School Act.” Janet Epp Buchingham, legal counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada – one of the interveners in the case – comments that the majority decision “indicates that religious parents are not excluded from processes regarding their children’s education but that these religious views may only be taken into consideration where they do not conflict with “tolerance and respect.” She alludes to the fact that religious parents have the right to homeschool their children or send them to private religious schools if their views differ from those of ‘tolerance and respect.'” Buckingham says: “The judgement is very strong on ‘inclusion’ and ‘tolerance and respect’ but does not indicate how this will happen for religious parents but only for same sex parents and teachers.” Mary Polak, chair of the Surrey School Board told LifeSite that while disappointed that the court found the Board’s process flawed, it was pleased with some aspects of the ruling. “The court rejected the idea that the board ignore concerns of religious parents.” She also suggested that the court decision envisions the possibility of rejecting the books from the classroom but has left the decision to be made by the seven elected representatives of the board, albeit with criteria set out by the court. The case arose when the Surrey School Board decided not to approve books promoting homosexual parents for use in kindergarten and Grade 1, largely based on the concerns of religious parents. James Chamberlain, a homosexual activist and kindergarten teacher in a Surrey school, challenged this decision in court.

The judgement is available online at: See related LifeSite coverage: SUPREME COURT OF CANADA HEARS CASE ON HOMOSEXUAL BOOKS IN ELEMENTARY GRADES