Bullying | Education | Gay-Straight Alliances | News

Ontario Poised to Pass Bill Mandating 'Gay-Straight Alliances' be Allowed in All Schools, Including Catholic Ones

An amendment to an anti-bullying bill under consideration in Ontario, Canada would require all schools, including Catholic ones, to accept the name "gay-straight alliance" for anti-homophobia clubs, the Toronto Star reports:

BrotenThe change of heart on the minority Liberal government’s Accepting Schools Act — which had allowed school principals a veto on names for any student club — was announced Friday afternoon by Education Minister Laurel Broten (pictured).

“We believe it’s up to the students,” she told reporters, saying it’s “important for students to have the freedom.”

The move, which has the support of the NDP, comes as an amendment to the government’s anti-bullying bill — which Broten hopes to pass before the legislature rises for its summer break June 7.

Conservatives and right-wing religious groups argue that the new rule would give LGBT students "special status" and The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association urged the school system to call clubs aimed at stopping bullying "Respecting Differences" clubs, in an advisory paper that did not mention the word gay once, the Star adds.

But proponents argue that allowing a principal, for example, to refuse to allow an anti-homophobia club to be called a “gay-straight alliance” is in itself a form of oppression that is inappropriate under the spirit of the bill. Broten has said gay students have been more prone to bullying, which is why they get specific mention in the bill.

“If we can’t name it, we can’t address it and we must address it,” she said.

The amendment was applauded by a group called the Ontario Gay-Straight Alliance Coalition as a step forward for human rights in the province.

More at CBC...

NOTE: Apologies, the earlier post suggested that the law would apply to all of Canada.

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  1. Actually, this only applies to the province of Ontario, not all of Canada. This is a decision being made by a provincial government.

    But, definitely great news for Ontario.

    Posted by: Matt N | May 25, 2012 5:43:58 PM

  2. A law the forces Catholic school to use a name they don't agree with for a gay-straight alliance club will give them more fuel to portray themselves as victims of the gay agenda- respecting difference sounds fine as long as they serve the same anti-bullying education purpose.

    Posted by: jaragon | May 25, 2012 5:46:41 PM

  3. FYI Ontario isn't all of Canada (contrary to what they might think). An education bill passed by one province doesn't apply to the whole country.

    Posted by: Jmac | May 25, 2012 5:49:42 PM

  4. no, Ontario isn't representative of the entire country.. but this is exactly the same way that Gay Marriage made it in to the national context.. first it was permitted by individual provinces.. then legislated nationally. this may be the same process here.. however.. likely not under a Harper Govt.

    Posted by: NorthoftheBorder | May 25, 2012 5:53:46 PM

  5. Sigh. Why is my country, the U.S., so far behind?

    Posted by: Mike M. | May 25, 2012 5:54:13 PM

  6. Completely misleading headline and article. "Canada" is not poised to pass this bill, the province of Ontario is. Kind of the equivalent of posting "U.S. pass marriage equality bill" when the State of New York did so.

    Posted by: Jester | May 25, 2012 5:57:44 PM

  7. Well Mike, the US is usually not the first country to grant rights (abolition of slavery, universal sufferage, election of a female head of government/state, same sex marriage) but usually not the last either.

    Posted by: Swiminbuff | May 25, 2012 5:59:33 PM

  8. Yeah, and the headline of the article linked to makes very clear that this is an "Ontario bill", not a "Canada bill".

    Posted by: tcw | May 25, 2012 5:59:41 PM

  9. Since the Catholic School system is funded by the Ontario government they should have to abide by all provinical educational policies or else cease being publically funded.

    Posted by: Swiminbuff | May 25, 2012 6:01:37 PM

  10. Northoftheborder, it's not really the same. Federal marriage legislation didn't come because of provincial legislation, it came as a result of court rulings, including the Sopreme Court. Legislating gay-straight alliances in one province won't necessarily lead to the same legislation in other provinces. Thankfully most other provinces don't have publicly funded Catholic schools (I still can't believe Ontario does that), so it's not really a problem.

    Posted by: ger | May 25, 2012 6:02:08 PM

  11. "respecting difference sounds fine..."

    To whom? You? Sorry pal, but the very name allows others who have a DIFFERENT opinion about Equality to continue to do so. for ALL It does nothing but drive the wedge deeper.. It doesn't bridge the horrible gap.

    Call it what it is: A gay-straight ALLIANCE which respects and celebrates our commonality as a total community.

    If the Catholics have a problem with that, they can pick up their toys and leave. They are Guests in Canada as they are in the US.

    Considering the piggish behavior of the catholic church over Prop 8 alone, and who knows what else, they are the last organization who should be dictating to people what 'names' should be.

    But thanks for playing.

    Posted by: Mic | May 25, 2012 6:03:09 PM

  12. If anyone has special status in Canada it's the child raping Catholics. In some areas they have completely separate school systems where they indoctrinate helpless children into their cult, but are 100% tax funded

    Posted by: Steve | May 25, 2012 6:31:22 PM

  13. From February, comparing Ontario to other provinces on GSAs. B.C.'s religious schools are private but receive partial provincial funding. Ontario has a taxpayer funded Catholic system in addition to the "normal" school system. "It’s only by comparison that Ontario Catholic schools’ treatment of gay students and staff can be called ‘liberal’"

    Posted by: Hue-Man | May 25, 2012 6:44:50 PM

  14. Ontario is not the whole country but has the majority of the people and really dictates the trends in the country - Toronto has more pull then the capital city - the rest will follow suit

    Posted by: Marky | May 25, 2012 7:10:45 PM

  15. I love how americans immediately jump on the headline of the article as opposed to discussing its substance. Seems to me that they're just bitter that Canada is a more progressive country than america. We've had gay marriage for seven years, what about you? Oh, that's right...

    Posted by: Lucas | May 25, 2012 8:07:44 PM

  16. OK, Ontario has about 1/3 of Canada's population (not the majority that Marky noted). Also, Ontario has publicly funded Catholic schools due to a constitutional provision. Ontario is not the only province with this rule. Personally, I would like to see all funding of non-public schools ended, but no politician of any party would ever push for this.

    Posted by: Jim TO | May 25, 2012 8:11:03 PM

  17. Catholic schools have special status in Canada and actually receive government [taxpayer] funding. But Canada does have a majority Catholic population, while the U.S. is majority Protestant. In the U.S., separation of church and state prohibits this.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 25, 2012 8:13:11 PM

  18. Lucas, with all due respect, you're an idiot. Americans (spelled with a capital "A," just like you capitalize "Canada") did not "jump all over the headline of this article without discussing its substance." I am Canadian and I objected to the headline, because it was grossly incorrect and poor journalism. Pointing out that this law does not apply to the entire country is not a criticism of Canada's stance towards LGBT issues, which everybody on this board would acknowledge are more progressive than the U.S.'s.

    Posted by: Jester | May 25, 2012 8:28:06 PM

  19. "If the Catholics have a problem with that, they can pick up their toys and leave. They are Guests in Canada as they are in the US."

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. But I can tell you that somewhere a right-wing author is writing this headline:

    "Catholics now 'guests' who can leave if they won't allow gay-themed school groups - says gay blogger on LGBT website."

    Being seen as "guests" in the country they were born and raised in is everyone's worst nightmare,since guests are only allowed in a location by the grace of their hosts. Please reconsider statements like this which don't serve to promote the cause of LGBT acceptance, but only fuel paranoia.

    Posted by: Mary | May 25, 2012 8:33:27 PM

  20. "Personally, I would like to see all funding of non-public schools ended, but no politician of any party would ever push for this."

    @JimTO: The Green Party of Ontario supports the idea of ending the Catholic funding, and when John Tory (a Tory himself) ran for Premier in 2007 on a platform that supported ending it, he lost by only 2.5% of votes. A candidate who wants a single public system for everyone could easily win in another election in the future.

    Posted by: GregV | May 25, 2012 8:48:51 PM

  21. Saying this is all of Canada would be like saying the state of Washington is doing something like this for the entire US. This article is factually inaccurate.

    Posted by: Phoenix | May 25, 2012 9:03:43 PM

  22. Special Status? It's just a school group. Same as the AV Club, Debate Club, Drama Club etc. They're just like the Math-letes, except they're gay.

    Posted by: KDNA | May 25, 2012 10:26:30 PM

  23. A more detailed story - including a copy of the bill - is found at GLBT newspaper www.Xtra.ca or see: http://goo.gl/iKQWA

    Posted by: DiCKster | May 25, 2012 10:42:02 PM

  24. Oops!

    The Xtra article only links to the amendments to the bill. The full bill is found here: http://goo.gl/Sise0

    Its worth clicking through to read the preamble.

    Posted by: DiCKster | May 25, 2012 10:48:05 PM

  25. Good for Ontario.

    Posted by: Randy | May 26, 2012 1:20:37 AM

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