Deal with homosexual couple threatens education rights, archbishop says

.- A recent agreement between the government of British Columbia and homosexual activists is an unwarranted intrusion on the rights of parents to determine how their children are educated, says Archbishop Raymond Roussin of Vancouver.

The archbishop, writing in the B.C. Catholic, says the agreement to make public school curriculum more positive toward homosexual behavior could lead to the introduction of inappropriate and morally objectionable material and restrict the right of parents to determine whether their children are exposed to such material.

"The right of parents to determine how their children receive instruction on matters of faith and morals must be the primary consideration," he says.

The archbishop encourages the faithful to express their concerns to the government and insist that their right to oversee their children’s education be upheld.

The issue is not exclusively Catholic, he says, but one that "extends beyond our community and is worrisome for a broad range of faith groups.”

The B.C. government reached the agreement with Peter and Murray Corren in May but family groups only started organizing public protests and petitions in August.

Under the terms of the six-page agreement, the homosexual couple abandoned a longstanding complaint filed with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in which they alleged systemic sexual discrimination in the provincial education system.

Murray Corren, a Coquitlam literacy teacher, had argued that schools should teach about homosexual history, positive homosexual role models, the contributions made by homosexuals, and legal issues relating to marriage and adoption from a homosexual perspective.

The government also agreed to guarantee the couple a consultative role in the development of the sexual orientation/gender identity component of an elective Grade 12 social justice course, which is still in the draft stages.

As well, the government will consult with the two men in preparing draft guidelines to review its K-12 curriculum from the perspective of inclusion and with respect to sexual orientation and “other grounds of discrimination.”

The changes take effect in September 2007.

About 1,000 people gathered to protest the agreement Aug. 26 at Vancouver’s McBride Park and circulated a petition with more than 15,000 names on it which will be presented to the government.

The petition was organized by the Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association. It calls on the government "to defend and to preserve parental and children’s rights" and to "stop selling out to special interest groups."

Other groups represented at the protest included the Catholic Civil Rights League, B.C. Parents and Teachers for Life, Concerned Parents of B.C. and the Canadian Family Action Coalition.

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