Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Late night

Great message.

Update (11:55 p.m.): Also a great message.

Update (Thursday 6:20 p.m.): For more context on this issue, there is a good post at Xtra that provides all the nuances and what the issue is exactly. The wording of the proposed bill is being interpreted by the president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association as permitting Catholic schools to prevent the terminology choice by students of "gay-straight alliance." Laurel Broten, Ontario Education Minister specifically denies that is the intent of the legislation.
Education minister Laurel Broten tells Xtra there is “no more debate” on GSAs. “If students want a GSA, it must be provided.”

Until now, most Ontario Catholic schools have banned GSAs. Broten says Bill 13 will require school boards to allow students to start queer support groups and name them whatever they wish, including, "gay-straight alliance,” Broten vows. A “general equity group,” which is what some Catholic schools have offered students, is not sufficient, she says.

“I’m confident our Catholic schools will work with students on this,” she says. “’Gay-straight alliance’ is language and terminology we all understand and support. Students will call the groups what they want.”
This is the provision that has caused the controversy with its inclusion of "or another name" at the end of subsection (d):
303.1 Every board shall support pupils who want to establish and lead,

(a) activities or organizations that promote gender equity;

(b) activities or organizations that promote anti-racism;

(c) activities or organizations that promote the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people with disabilities; or

(d) activities or organizations that promote the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, including organizations with the name gay-straight alliance or another name.
Broten's words indicate the intent of the legislation is to require the gay-straight alliance name and that's what the statute says.

Update (Sunday a.m.): One last update here. I may have overstated in my last sentence above on Broten's words and what they meant. Re-reading what she said in combination with s. 303.1, it's the club that is required by the statute, first and foremost, not the name. But, I don't see how the schools can get away with denying the students their name choice. The statute is mandatory in its language, requiring that "Every board shall support pupils" who want to establish and lead organizations including those that have the gay-straight alliance name choice. The government's intent is clear as to what they want to see the schools do, i.e., work with and let the students have the group that they want, including under whatever name they choose.