Catholics oppose 'Gay-Straight Alliance'

May 29, 2012 at 3:36 PM
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TORONTO, May 29 (UPI) -- The Roman Catholic Church has spoken out against the Canadian province of Ontario's attempt to legislate Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in Catholic schools.

Liberal Education Minister Laurel Broten altered a bill last week to forbid either public or private schools from banning the name "Gay-Straight Alliance," a term from the United States, the Toronto Sun said.

Broten said the goal was to reduce bullying based on sexual orientation, but the archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, was quick to call it an attack on religious freedom for all faiths.

"Why is an act of the Legislature being used to, in a sense, micromanage the naming of student clubs?" he said. "When religious freedom becomes a second-class right, you also will eventually be affected."

Jim Hughes, national president of the Campaign Life Coalition, issued a statement Tuesday pointing out Catholic, or "separate" schools have a history dating back to Canadian confederation in 1867.

"Under the guise of preventing bullying based on orientation they propose to open the doors to an agenda opposed to Catholic teaching," Hughes said. "We remind the government that schools and hospitals in Ontario were primarily established by the Catholic Church at the time of the [British North America] Act, which guarantees their denominational rights."

A Sun editorial suggested a Supreme Court challenge was all but inevitable if the Ontario government passes the bill.

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