John-Henry Westen

The Interim

With the sexual orientation legislation having passed in the Senate, it is now law. Of great concern during the debates in the House of Senate on the issue, was the absolute denial of any attempt to safeguard the rights of religious communities to defend their moral teaching on homosexuality.

In the words of Senator Anne Cools, “Any critical comments and any proposed improvements have been treated harshly. Any concern about Bill C-33 is deliberately misunderstood and clouded by accusations of homophobia and bigotry.”

No Definition

These events should be of no surprise to Ontarians who have had the yet undefined term “sexual orientation” in their Human Rights Code for years already. In fact, the term even appears in The Common Curriculum: Policies and Outcomes, Grades 1-9, 1995, which is to receive “full implementation” in September of 1996.

This document “outlines the policies and educational philosophy that form the basis of education for ALL Ontario students Grades 1 to 9.” (TCC, pg. 3, emphasis added) and that “all schools and school boards SHALL develop programs based on this document for ALL Ontario students in Grades 1 to 9.” (TCC, pg. 4, emphasis added).

The contents of this document and its possible impact on the wellbeing of our children should be of great concern. The document openly proclaims that it “describes the knowledge, skills, and values students should develop by the end of the Grade 9” (TCC, pg. 3, emphasis added). Values, in years gone by, were to be the concern of parents, especially when those values related to particular religious and or cultural practices.

Equal Status

Most alarming is the Ministry’s mandate in terms of “the elimination of inequalities based on gender, disability socio-economic background, and sexual orientation” (TCC, pg. 4, emphasis added). If no inequalities existed based on sexual orientation then one would have to consider homosexuality or bisexuality (not to mention paedophilia) and heterosexuality as equally viable alternative lifestyles. This will be taught to our children.

In response to enquiries, Ontario Education Ministry John Snobelen, indicated that “It is the responsibility of the schools to teach respect for the individual choices and differences, not to teach the values of one lifestyle over another.” The letter from the Minister concluded with “The family will always be the primary influence in developing the values of a child.” Without, of course defining “family” which could, in view of current events, be defined to include homosexual couples with children.

The Minister’s none-too-reassuring words come as more and more Ontarians wonder about public education as a means of imparting positive social values. More families are looking to home school as a solution to shaken faith in public education.