Pro-family advocates and traditional Catholics are worried that a student who is pushing the issue of bringing his same-sex partner to a school prom is being used by the homosexual lobby to advance their cause and weaken the distinctiveness of Catholic education in Ontario.
Before Marc Hall set out to buy two tickets for the prom at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School in Oshawa, he decided to ask principal Michael Powers if he could bring a date. That seemed harmless enough, except that his “date” was to be 21-year-old Jean-Paul Dumond.
Powers replied that allowing Hall to bring a same-sex date to the prom would contravene both Catholic Church teachings and school policy.
“By allowing (Hall) to bring (a male) date to the prom, we would be condoning a lifestyle that is incongruent with teaching we are expected to uphold,” added Paul Prulla, the superintendent of the Durham Catholic school board. “We respect every student in our schools, no matter their race, no matter their background. They’re treated with respect and treated the same way as every other student.”
When Hall learned he could not bring his homosexual date to prom, he made an attempt to appeal the principal’s decision. Supporting him were about 100 people, including the president of a Canadian Auto Workers Union local, Mike Shields, who was later asked to leave by police for his conduct. The school board upheld the principal’s decision.
Hall tried again to plead his case at an April 8 meeting of the Durham Catholic District school board, but was unable to do so. He then filed an injunction in the Ontario Superior Court, claiming discrimination. He has also launched a separate $100,000 lawsuit against his school for alleged damages suffered.
Hall is using as counsel Toronto-based civil rights lawyer David Corbett, who is taking the case free of charge. Corbett is a homosexual, teaches discrimination law at the University of Toronto and has been involved in numerous cases in the past concerning homosexual rights. Liberal MPP George Smitherman is acting as litigation guardian to Hall because Hall is under 18 years of age.
Corbett said that Hall has a decent shot at winning his case. “He certainly has a good arguable case,” he claimed. “Whether he’ll win it is another matter.”
The Hall controversy has sparked international interest, attracting the likes of even the New York Times and CNN. Among Hall’s celebrity supporters are Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty, federal Industry Minister Allan Rock, the national president of the Canadian Auto Workers, Buzz Hargrove, Toronto city councillor and World Youth Day chair Joe Mihevec, Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in York Region, lesbian MP Libby Davies, Bloc Quebecois MP Real Menard and Conservative MP Scott Brison. Meanwhile, the federal homosexual lobby group Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere threw a dinner in honour of Hall.
Guelph, Ont. evangelical minister Roy Hamel told The Interim that Hall is being used to advance the same-sex agenda. He added that opportunistic politicians are jumping on a bandwagon to look good with a morally bankrupt sector of the Canadian public that sees individual rights as paramount.
A ruling in Hall’s favour might open the floodgates to all kinds of religious discrimination cases. If that happens, no religious institution may be able to uphold its teachings.
Hamel noted, “If the Roman Catholic Church cannot live by its own moral teachings, within its own institutional structure, then no church in Canada is safe.”