Anti-Gay Homeschooling Outlawed in W’ern Canadian Province

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Friday February 24, 2012

Alberta's new Education Act prohibits homeschools, private schools and Catholic schools from teaching students that being gay is a sin, the conservative right wing website Life Site News reported.

Alberta is a province located in western Canada and is between British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

"Whatever the nature of schooling - homeschool, private school, Catholic school - we do not tolerate disrespect for differences," the assistant director of communications for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, Donna McColl said.

Paul Faris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, an organization that defends the rights of parents to educate their children, responded to the new act and said that the Ministry of Education is "clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes. A government that seeks that sort of control over our personal lives should be feared and opposed."

Section 16 of the new legislation reinforces the Albert School Act, which makes schools "reflect the diverse nature" of the province in their curriculum. It also says that schools must "honor and respect" the Alberta Human Rights Act -- a law that amended Alberta's legislation to protect the LGBT community from discrimination.

McColl also said that Christian homeschools can incorporate Biblical teachings on homosexuality, "as long as it's not part of their academic program of studies and instructional materials."

"What they want to do about their ideology elsewhere, that's their family business. But a fundamental nature of our society is to respect diversity," she said.

Those who oppose the new legislation questioned how the Ministry would make the distinction between school and family time. When McColl was asked about the matter, she said the government "won't speculate" about individual cases but said she has not received a "straight answer" on what would be considered disrespectful.

Patty Marler, government liaison for the Alberta Home Education Association, said, "we educate our children all the time, and that's just the way we live. It's a lifestyle. Making that distinction between the times when we're homeschooling and when we're just living is really hard to do. Throw in the fact that I do use the Bible as part of my curriculum and now I'm very blatantly going to be teaching stuff that will be against [the human rights act]."

Canada is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to LGBT rights. Gay couples have been able to marry since 2005 and have the same rights as heterosexual couples regarding adoption. Gays can also openly serve in the military and transgender people are allowed to legally change their sex.

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