The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association supports Ontario student Marc Hall’s bid to attend his high school prom with the date of his choice—his boyfriend. The Durham Roman Catholic School Board’s decision to refuse to allow Marc to attend the prom with his boyfriend on the basis that to do so would be to “condone the homosexual lifestyle” directly discriminates against Marc on the basis of his sexual orientation. That’s unlawful, under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, both of which protect gays and lesbians from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
As BCCLA President John Dixon says, “The Catholic School Board cannot shelter their unjust and illegal decision to exclude Marc from this important rite of passage on the basis of the School Board’s religious freedom. The Catholic School Board operates a publicly funded and publicly sanctioned school system in which Canadian ideals of tolerance and inclusivity cannot be sacrificed to discriminatory sectarian beliefs and prejudices.” In Ontario, the separate Catholic School System is fully publicly funded and entrenched under the Constitution Act, 1867.
“The discrimination which young gays and lesbians too often suffer in our schools, and the depression and suicides which that discrimination can engender, are a matter of public record. It is incumbent on all Canadians to do everything we can to protect our young people from the tragic consequences of harassment, ostracism and discrimination on the basis of their emerging sexuality,” says Dixon.
Marc Hall is in court today and tomorrow seeking an injunction to allow him to take his boyfriend to the prom this Friday.