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British Columbia Vetoes Approval of Anti-gay Trinity Western Law School

Twu

British Columbia has revoked its approval of a Christian university's plan to open a law school following stiff resistance from LGBT-supportive lawyers who objected to the school's covenant against homosexuality that students and faculty are required to sign.

Said TWU president Bob Kuhn via statement:

“It is difficult to conceive of a justifiable basis for the Minister [of Advanced Education Amrik Virk] to have revoked his approval of the school of law program...We believe in diversity and the rights of all Canadians to their beliefs and values.”

Back in October, we reported on a poll conducted throughout the province that found 75 percent of practicing lawyers agreed that the Trinity Western University's law school should not be given accreditation due to the school's anti-gay policy. Specifically, the policy forbids all sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

Said Victoria-based lawyer Michael Mulligan at the time:

“The large return and clear result sends an important message about the core values of the legal profession that include upholding the legal rights of all persons. The clear message to TWU is this: if you wish approval from the legal profession in B.C. you will need to cease your discriminatory practices. The discipline or expulsion of students and staff for private sexual activity is unacceptable.”

[via Metro News]


Ottawa School Backtracks On Decision To Ban Student Project On Gay Rights

Quinn Maloney-Tavares and Polly Hamilton

A Catholic school in Ottawa has backtracked on a decision to not allow two grade 6 students to present a social justice project on gay rights following complaints from parents, reports CBC News.

In a statement explaining the ban in November, the Ottawa Catholic School Board (CSB) said:

“Our Family Life curriculum (Fully Alive) covers all topics around personhood, relationships and sexuality and is developed and taught in an age-appropriate manner. The Board ensures that a pastoral approach is used during the learning process. Parents are notified before sexuality topics are taught in class.

“The principal's decision was made in this context and with the understanding that the project was going to be presented to younger students.​

“Our Board's focus on equity and family life programs ensures students are taught within the context of our faith, with a focus on the dignity of personhood.”

St geoge school ottawaFollowing the ban, students Quinn Maloney-Tavares and Polly Hamilton met with Jeremy Dias of Jer’s Vision, an activist organization that seeks to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in schools and youth communities.

The decision to now allow the project to go ahead comes following a meeting between the girls, their parents and the principal of St. George School near Tunney’s Pasture.

Following the decision, the CSB said:

"The girls will be doing a project on how the topic of gay rights is addressed by a Catholic high school’s equity club. The girls will be welcome to present their project at the social justice fair."

Quinn’s mother Ann Maloney said:

"One person can make change because they came up against a roadblock and took some action and they were able to change the way people think. I think that's a pretty powerful feeling for them to have at such a young age."

Maloney added that although she has received positive messages from parents, some messages have been “very unpleasant.”


Gay Canadian Figure Skater, Olympic Silver Medalist Eric Radford Is Pushing A Perfect 10

Radford.Eric1

Canadian figure skater Eric Radford (above) seriously considered coming out publicly prior to the Sochi Olympics. 

But ultimately Radford decided he didn't want to be a poster child at an event where gay rights were sure to be a hot-button issue — or worse, risk scrutiny from Russian authorities looking to enforce the country's anti-gay law. 

Radford.Eric4"My concern was that I would be known as 'the gay athlete' if I came out at the Olympics, rather than Eric the medalling figure skater who happens to be gay," Radford tells OutSports. "And I felt uncomfortable with that title."

Whether you agree with it or not, Radford's decision appears to have paid off. Focused on the competition and not media hype over his sexuality, he helped the Canadian team earn a silver medal in Sochi.

Now, as he and his figure skating partner, Meagan Duhamel (right), continue to enjoy remarkable success, Radford decided the time was right. According to OutSports, he becomes the first elite figure skater to come out at the height of his career. 

Radford and Duhamel are three-time defending Canadian pairs champions — and they won bronze at the World Championships in 2013 and 2014. Now, they're setting their sights on the 2018 Olympics in South Korea — Radford even got a tattoo on his chest as a symbol of his dedication to that goal. 

In the OutSports interview, Radford recalls how he was teased mercilessly as a child, not only because figure skating was considered a "gay" sport but because he had a lisp. But being gay in figure skating pairs also has its advantages, Radford says:

"A lot of pairs end up dating one another. It can become risky because your on-ice training can be affected by your off-ice relationship. If you have a fight at home, it makes that training difficult. I used to joke around that I'm the ultimate pair-boy. I never had to worry about developing an off-ice relationship."

Although he just came out publicly, Radford says many in the figure skating community already knew. He and his boyfriend have been together four years, and they're raising a daughter together.  

Read Radford's full interview with OutSports here.

Watch videos of Radford completing a performance despite a broken nose in 2011 and taking the ice bucket challenge with his boyfriend earlier this year, AFTER THE JUMP ...  

 

Canadian Mayoral Race Marred By Homophobic Campaign Tactics

Hancock_corrigan

The local politics of Burnaby, B.C.’s mayoral race have taken a turn for the homophobic in light of rumors that the Barnaby First Coalition is attempting to convince voters that their competition, The Burnaby Citizens’ Association, is using a serum to turn children gay. Supporters of the BCA allegedly caught wind of the allegations against them while going door to door throughout Burnaby’s Chinese-speaking neighborhoods.

"What I am concentrating on as a candidate from an immigrant community--I feel like it is an attack on the minority community,” said Karen Chen, a BCA member running for a local school board position. “They are taking advantage of that. Taking advantage of our language barrier and cultural differences.”

In an interview with Yahoo News Canada, Chen explained that she first heard about the supposed conversion serum from a waitress at a local restaurant who claimed to have been contacted by a BFC campaigner with a warning. Though the rumor was initially brushed off by BCA supporters, some are reporting that it’s begun to be taken seriously by some of Burnaby’s immigrant constituents.

“I had an encounter with one family, and I heard that others had some information come their way as well,” said school trustee Harman Pandher. “It’s pretty outrageous, in this day and age, these types of things are being believed.”

Current mayor Derek Corrigan [above right] is a member of the BCA and political frontman for the party’s candidates for various positions. In the past the BFC, fronted by mayoral candidate Darren Hancott [above left], has supported conservative, “pro-family” positions and opposed legislation designed to protect LGBT children in schools.

in 2011 the BFC opposed the Burnaby School District’s policy 5.45 that laid out action plans for schools to use to prevent the bullying of queer students. Recently a Chinese-language website and flyers targeting calling policy 5.45  an example of the government’s pro-gay agenda have begun to spring up. The fliers, interestingly, urge voters to support members of the Burnaby First Coalition.


Lawyers Vote Against Trinity Western University Accreditation Over School's Anti-gay Pledge

Trinity western

A substantial block of lawyers working in British Columbia are moving to petition the provincial law society to withdraw accreditation at a proposed law school at Trinity Western University.  A poll conducted throughout the province found that 75 percent of practicing lawyers agreed that the law school should not be given accreditation due to the University’s policy of asking its faculty, staff, and students sign a Community Covenant pledge. Within the pledge are a set of beliefs including the forbiding of all sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

“Trinity Western believes in diversity and the rights of all Canadians to their personal beliefs and values,”  University spokesperson Guy Saffold told the Vancouver Sun.“A person’s ability to study and practise the law should not be restricted by their faith.”

Saffold insisted that moving forward with the decision to remove TWU’s accreditation would ultimately hurt the university’s LGBT students by robbing their legal educations of their prestige.

“I thought it was a fantastic showing, for the second time, by the legal profession,” said Michael Mulligan, a Victoria-based lawyer and proponent of the proposal.

“The large return and clear result sends an important message about the core values of the legal profession that include upholding the legal rights of all persons. The clear message to TWU is this: if you wish approval from the legal profession in B.C. you will need to cease your discriminatory practices. The discipline or expulsion of students and staff for private sexual activity is unacceptable.”


Canadian Councillor's Campaign Signs Vandalized, Sprayed 'Homophobe'

Jeff earle

A candidate for a seat on the city council in Brockville, Ontario, has had five election campaign posters defaced, one of them with the word “homophobe” in black spray paint, reports The Recorder. 1297620912487_ORIGINAL

Jeff Earle, a council veteran of 23 years, is convinced the “homophobe” charge stems from a vote last February preventing debate on a motion to fly the rainbow flag behind city hall during the Winter Olympics.

A unanimous vote was required to get the motion to the floor. Earle, the only councillor to oppose hearing the motion, says he blocked the vote because of a desire to keep politics out of the Olympics.

 

Earle, who says the vandalism should be treated as a hate crime, resents being tarred as a homophobe because of that vote:

“I treat it as a hate crime. For them to label that, I find it a little offensive. That vote was not about whether you support individuals.”

City police are currently investigating.

In June, Ontario elected its first female and lesbian premier Kathleen Wynne.

[sign photo via Ronald Zajac/The Recorder and Times]


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