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Ontario Catholic School Board to Reconsider Ban on Gay-Straight Alliances Following Board Member's 'Nazi' Remarks

The Halton District Catholic School Board in Ontario is reviewing a ban on Gay-Straight alliances enacted on November 2, following an Xtra story published in early January which caused widespread outrage over a board member's remarks comparing gay groups to Nazi groups.

The National Post reports: Lemay

Board chairperson Alice Anne LeMay said Monday the ban was enacted as the board created an equity and inclusive education policy, as required by new equity legislation from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

"When we worked through it and it was passed on Nov. 16, some things were added about the exclusion of certain groups, particularly a [gay-straight alliance] group and that's the way it was passed," she said. (Ms. LeMay was forced to apologize Monday for saying earlier that gay alliances, like "Nazi groups," would not be allowed in Halton's Catholic schools because they "don't fall within the teachings of the Catholic church.")

A board meeting is scheduled for this evening:

Reached on Monday evening, Ms. LeMay said she didn’t know yet whether she would vote to support the ban or to repeal it at Tuesday’s meeting. Several new members who were elected to the board in October didn’t participate in the November vote, including an openly gay trustee, 22-year-old Paul Marai.

Mr. Marai called the ban a divisive “waste of time” that distracted the board from the more important issue of education. He also expressed his support for Ms. LeMay.

“I do know her to be quite a tolerant and accepting individual,” he said.

Watch Sarah Kelly, a Master of Teaching student at the University of Toronto, speaks out for Gay-Straight alliances and about the Halton ban, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. The lady's remark is really quite ironic, considering the Catholic Church's silence during WWII, it's anti-minority, anti-Jew history, and it's current Pope.

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 11, 2011 11:57:21 AM


  2. Catholic schools in Ontario receive public funding (tax dollars) but still get to spread their message anyway that they want. As a graduate of these schools I have first-hand experience with bigotry, intolerance and virulent (and sometimes violent) homophobia. Canada needs one public school system funded by taxpayers. If parents want to educate their children religiously they can do it without my tax dollars and on their own time. The Roman Catholic church continues to preach hatred and intolerance and is a strong political group.

    Posted by: Sane Soul | Jan 11, 2011 12:14:02 PM


  3. This is why we still need the gay press and blogosphere: like grubs, bigots like LeMay can wither when you turn over their rock and shine some sunlight on them.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Jan 11, 2011 12:30:35 PM


  4. Wait, isn't the meeting next Tuesday and not tonight? It says in this Xtra.ca article that the meeting is January 18, and that LGBT activists are organizing a demonstration:

    http://www.xtra.ca/public/Toronto/Xtra_story_on_Halton_Catholic_GSA_ban_sparks_outrage-9621.aspx

    Posted by: bfenster | Jan 11, 2011 12:34:28 PM


  5. LeMay ought to be deported for her comments. Maybe Texas will have her.

    Posted by: Tone | Jan 11, 2011 12:41:43 PM


  6. I also attended Catholic schools in Ontario, and they are a blight on our province. These institutions are a breeding ground for bigotry and homophobia, and I was personally victimized for many years, eventually being forced to leave school early to avoid bullying (both peers and faculty). Ontario has consistently been found in VIOLATION of international human rights law on the matter of its publicly funded Catholic school system. It's a disgrace. PUBLIC education is a PUBLIC good, and anyone who supports this system needs to get that through their heads ASAP.

    Posted by: CMJ | Jan 11, 2011 12:42:57 PM


  7. Oh yeah I forgot to call LeMay a dried up cunty old bigot.

    Posted by: Tone | Jan 11, 2011 12:43:44 PM


  8. @bfenster

    I just talked to my Xtra colleague Andrea Houston - who wrote the original article about the gay-Straight alliance ban - and she says that because of all the attention the board is going to effectively repeal it tonight, then do the official vote at their regular meeting next week.

    Follow http://twitter.com/xtra_canada for updates as Andrea and I will be traveling to the meeting tonight.

    (thanks to Andy for linking to our story - much appreciated)

    Justin,
    Online reporter, Xtra.ca

    Posted by: Justin Stayshyn | Jan 11, 2011 12:54:46 PM


  9. I will also be attending the meeting tonight with Sarah Kelly, who I have been working with to help get this issue as much media exposure as possible. It saddens me that this ban happened in the first place. And I am embarrassed to be a former student at a high school in this particular district. This is Canada, things like this DON'T happen here.

    Posted by: James | Jan 11, 2011 1:27:59 PM


  10. I live in Ontario and I agree that we should have only one public system like most other Provinces do. But, just as Catholic schools, because they accept public $$, were forced to allow gay teens to take same sex dates to proms, Catholic Boards will be forced to allow gay-straight alliances if they don't want their funding cut. Taking even one dime from the government? Suck it up and accept equality or go to a private tuition system and see how that grabs ya.

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | Jan 11, 2011 2:11:05 PM


  11. Andy, should have led with Sarah Kelly's video. Most readers probably missed it...

    Posted by: Shawn | Jan 11, 2011 3:37:57 PM


  12. I'm from Ontario too but thankfully went through the public rather than Catholic system. How do we go about cutting public funding to catholic schools? More importantly, how do we stop the tax breaks that churches get in Canada? Why do religionists get tax breaks for their extra-curricular activities? Why is church/religious group involvement in politics and public policy discussion tolerated at all?

    Posted by: Mark | Jan 11, 2011 5:48:53 PM


  13. "How do we go about cutting public funding to catholic schools?"

    @Mark: This issue (like the different legal treatment toward peopledecended from natives) is one of the few ways the Canadian government has not been able to get beyond discrimination.
    I think the problem is that the Canadian Constitution (designed in the 19th century by less-enlightened people) stated that any religious school board that existed in 1867 would be allowed to continue with public funds, but no other religion would have to be allowed the same benefit.
    So now Canada is stuck with several provinces that use taxpayers funds to pay for Catholic (and no other type of) indocrinmation.
    The United Nations has said this policy goes against Canada's international obligations (and it clearly goes against the notions of equality, diversity and fairness with which Canada has become identified in modern days). But Members of Parliament either feel that their hands are tied by a law from the racists and religious bigots of 1867, or that it is too controversial an issue to discuss in public.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 11, 2011 9:16:53 PM


  14. Typical old fat middle class "religious" white woman - making sure that everybody lives their lives according to her rules!

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 12, 2011 10:23:04 AM


  15. Changing the Canadian constitution to rescind denominational school rights is not that big a deal. Three provinces have already done so -- two (Quebec and Newfoundland) very recently (1990s). A simple bilateral agreement between Ottawa and Ontario is all that is required. No other provinces would be involved.

    See http://www.oneschoolsystem.org/denominational_rights.html for more info. If you want to see an end to public funding for Catholic schools in Ontario, sign up at www.OneSchoolSystem.org as a supporter and get involved!

    Posted by: Leonard | Jan 12, 2011 9:37:09 PM


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