By Brody Levesque
May 29, 2012
TORONTO — A dispute over the use of the term “gay-straight alliance” in Ontario schools has prompted the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto on Monday to accuse Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s administration of making “religious freedom . . . a second-class right.”
The church-versus-state showdown was sparked by an amendment from Education Minister Laurel Broten to the anti-bullying bill, closing a loophole that gave schools veto power over club names.
Under the proposed change, all schools — including those in the Catholic system — won’t be able to stop students from calling anti-homophobia clubs “gay-straight alliances.”
Broten said that Ontario’s LGBTQ students received highlighted mention in the legislation, as statistically LGBTQ youth are at increased exposure and risk to being bullied and that schools, parents, and government needs to reinforce the message that this behavior will not be tolerated.
But in an interview with the Toronto Star, Marino Gazzola, chairperson of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, said Tuesday that using the word “gay” in the name of supportive clubs is going too far.