Ontario’s new anti-bullying ‘gay-straight’ law was born of heroism - thestar.com

Ontario’s new anti-bullying ‘gay-straight’ law was born of heroism - thestar.com

The Ontario government’s anti-bullying bill, which will allow “gay-straight alliances” in schools, passed Tuesday at noon, opposed only by the Conservatives. It will apply to all schools, even Catholic ones where religious doctrine insists that homosexuality is a disorder and where many school administrators don’t seem even faintly embarrassed by that, nor by their position that the word “gay” is unacceptable in a school setting.
Columnists should admit their errors. Here’s one I made out of the purest cynicism. Early on in this fight, I threw my hands up, certain that Catholic boards would always caress this particular morsel of brutality and never legitimize the word “gay.” I did call the anti-gay elements “primitive” but went no further. Doesn’t matter, I told myself. There’ll still be clubs for bullied kids, they just won’t be called “gay-straight” although that was to me the whole point.
Shamefully, I skipped over the subject, which is like watching someone being bullied and not raising a hand to help. I think of beautiful young Jamie Hubley, the Ottawa student who killed himself last fall after enduring relentless bullying. What would he have thought of my undeveloped heart?
But Premier Dalton McGuinty didn’t hide behind jargon. He went out on a thin political limb and won the battle against the Conservatives and the Catholic school system for bullied gay kids.
I do think politicians are the most cynical people around, but I was wrong. The cynic was me.
So now I will go in the opposite direction and assume that ethical Catholic schools will now refuse to accept money from the “gay-straight alliance” mandating government and leave the public system. They will set up as independent religious schools — perhaps a home school in a home the size of Hogwarts — and finance them privately. And I will salute their courage.
As an atheist — “humanist” is the current term — I avoid writing about religion. But this issue seems more about ethics and pride. If following the law so appalls Catholic boards, then they must not let an anti-bullying government bully them into decency.