GSAs: coming to a Catholic school near you (if you live in Canada)

Ontario is looking to pass a bill pointed directly at Catholic schools.

The proposal, which was introduced by Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten on May 25, would ban Catholic schools from stopping clubs that go by the “Gay-Straight Alliance” name. This would mean, in essence, that these religious schools would be forced to recognize the clubs by name if requested by the student body. The decision to consider this mandate is complicated, especially considering that the Catholic school system in Ontario is publicly-funded.

Their religion necessitates that they argue for their right to discriminate (while taking taxpayer money paid, in part, by the demographic they’re discriminating against).  And yet they still consider themselves a religion of love.

Love deserves better than them.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • R Johnston

    Love certainly deserves better than them, and so does public funding. Ontario really should simply be shutting off the spigot.

  • http://www.twitter.com/WCLPeter WCLPeter

    R Johnston,

    If only that were so easy.

    Funding of the Catholic Schools is part of our founding documents and was required at the time in order to get Quebec, which was predominately Catholic though ironically is now on its way to becoming the most secular province in Canada, to agree to joining Canada all those many years ago. It also allowed the Protestants, pretty much everyone else, to also ensure funding would continue for their religious schools.

    Over time the Protestant schools became more and more secular, turning into what we call the Public School system today. The Catholic schools have been pretty much unchanged since they started, holding to their Catholic roots.

    In recent years, with the rise in multiculturalism, a number of religious leaders have been asking for either equal funding for their schools or calling for a single public one to level the playing field. This has brought increasing talk of changing the laws to remove public support for the Catholic schools. Of course this is being fought tooth and nail by them, prominent Catholics go apoplectic on National TV from time to time whenever this comes up, but they’re finding it increasingly difficult to provide arguments that don’t boil down to “tradition” or “religious freedom” (with that smarmy wink wink nudge nudge of “freedom” being only for the Catholics, everyone else can pay for their religious schools out of pocket) arguments to justify why we need two school boards which do essentially the same thing.

    Eventually I think the Catholic Schools will go the way of the Dodo and be rolled into the Public School Board, but not without a lot of kicking and screaming first.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    So do not target Catholic schools. Say nothing whatsoever about religion or religiosity. Say instead that every school which recieves public funds must allow student initiated clubs to have a name that contains some variation of “Gay-Straight Alliance.” If the Catholic schools do not like that, they they can give up all public money.

    • anthonyallen

      They targeted themselves by denying GSA’s the right to form as clubs with that name. The bill proposed by Minister Broten is simply saying that Catholic schools that receive public funding can’t do that.


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