In January 2004, The American College of Paediatricians concluded that: "The research literature on child- rearing by homosexual parents is limited. The environment in which children are reared is absolutely critical to their development. Given the current body of research, the American College of Paediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, neither by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation. This position is rooted in the best available science." ( "Human Parenting: Is It Time for Change?")
Despite the benefit of such social scientific evidence, and without adequate democratic deliberation and the normal process of judicial appeals, our federal government has repudiated the historic definition of marriage in favour of social re-engineering.
Their approach imposes uniformity in the name of equality which means pursuing the erosion of marriage and the family by belittling the importance of the union of a woman and a man, a wife and a husband, a mother and a father.
The educational impact of laws on attitudes is undeniable. If Canadian law must henceforth teach that marriage is the union of two persons, a majority of Canadians face the risk of a serious threat to their freedom of conscience, religion and expression through the imposition of an "orthodoxy" that is contrary to their values.
Same-sex marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance and diversity, yet the foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before.
In view of the passage of same-sex marriage legislation, must a majority of parents accept it as inevitable, that schools and the media will transmit a vision of marriage contrary to their own?
It will be argued that the Charter of Rights and the new law re same-sex marriages compel public schools to teach their students the moral equivalency of heterosexual and homosexual relations and marriages. Furthermore, to the extent that these concepts are explored in health and physical education classes, the exploration must be equivalent. The argument will be that any other approach would be discriminatory and contrary to the equality rights under s.15(1) of the Charter and the numerous court cases that have led to the passage of Bill C-38.
The impact of the social re-engineering is bound to filter down to school classrooms.
Ordinary words such as 'husband' and 'wife' will be replaced by 'partner' and 'spouse'. Children will have to be taught about homosexual acts. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labelled as bigoted and openly discriminated against and dragged before Human Rights Commissions. Parents who complain will be branded as homophobes and their children will suffer.
A British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has begun hearing a case filed by a same-sex couple. The complaint filed against the B.C. Ministry of Education in 1999, alleges that the Ministry's curriculum does not adequately "address issues of sexual orientation." The claim is made that "there is systemic discrimination through omission and suppression of queer issues in the whole of the curriculum."
To focus the human rights complaint, the complainants have selected the Social Studies curriculum for Grades 8 to 10 as an example of the discrimination.
They would like to see the curriculum changed to include: "Queer history and historical figures, the presences of positive queer role models - past and present, the contributions made by queers to various epochs, societies and civilization, and legal issues relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trangendered people, same sex marriage and adoption."
Pro-family groups haves raised the concern that permitting explicitly homosexual material in the curriculum would promote homosexuality as a normative and safe lifestyle option.
The complainants also desire to ensure the material is mandatory. If successful, the case would strip parents of the right to pull their children from the offensive portion of the curriculum.
Traditionally only those matters that on which there was a large measure of consensus in society would be taught in the public school system. The rest was left to the home, to the church or to other institutions. The adoption of a new constitutional norm means that, in respect of homosexuality at least, this strategy is to be abandoned and students are to be confronted on the issues.
Consider Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36. The Supreme Court struck down the decision of a British Columbia school board to refuse approval for three books presenting positive images of same-sex families for use in junior kindergarten and Grade 1. The refusal was on the basis that a significant number of parents and others in the school district would consider them to be incompatible or inconsistent with their moral and religious beliefs on same-sex relationships.
The case marked a significant moment in the debate about parental rights in education.
Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin said that, "Parental views, however, important, cannot override the imperative placed upon the British Columbia public schools to mirror the diversity of the community and teach tolerance and understanding of difference."
In effect, therefore, it is parental views that are to be overridden by the new state religion to the detriment of children.
☩ Frederick Henry
Bishop Emeritus of Calgary