Skip to main content

A bully and his victim

Mikael Damkier/Getty Images/iStockphoto

It is a welcome development that the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association has come out strongly behind new provincial legislation that allows gay and lesbian Catholic high-school students to organize themselves on school grounds under the banner "gay-straight alliance." Welcome because gay and lesbian students can be subjected to brutal bullying that has led in some cases to suicide, and they need all the support they can get. And also welcome because there are some powerful forces opposed to that part of the law.

Catholic school trustees, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, the Archbishop of Toronto and a national pro-life group all believe the word "gay" on a school notice board, and the support it would imply for homosexuality, contradicts the Vatican's ruling that homosexual acts are "acts of grave depravity" that are "intrinsically disordered" and "contrary to the natural law." The 43,000 members of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, like so many others, recognize that the Vatican's position contradicts Canadians' constitutional right to be free from discrimination based on sexual orientation. They embrace the part of the law that allows students to use the name "gay-straight alliance" in Catholic schools because they are the adults who walk the halls and see the bullying that takes place in high school. They are the ones who know how bullying can damage and even destroy a child's education. And they seem to understand better than their employer that banning the term "gay-straight alliance," as one Toronto-area Catholic high school did, is an official endorsement of intolerance and a direct contradiction of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario's recent statement that bullying in any form is unacceptable (any form except theirs?).

Some opposed to the new rule, which will take effect in time for the school year that begins in September, are calling on church leaders and Catholic school boards to challenge the law based on section 93 of the Constitution. That's the section that guarantees the antique right of publicly funded Protestant and Catholic school boards to exist. But publicly funded schools can't violate the Constitution's more modern protection of the fundamental rights of gays and lesbians. If Catholic students and their courageous teachers are ready to make this contradiction work, shouldn't everyone else get on board?

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies