Gay Rights Are Human Rights

by | November 29, 2014

canadian-museum-for-human-rightsCanadian Museum for Human Rights

The concept that gay rights are human rights should never be questioned; it should be a “truth universally acknowledged,” not just enshrined in human rights codes. The Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Ontario Human Rights Code are not documents in a museum; they are living documents supported and reinforced by provincial education acts.

Quinn Maloney-Tavares and Polly Hamilton are aware of this; unfortunately, the principal at St. George (Catholic) School in Ottawa and members of the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) are not. Quinn and Polly,

Two students at St. George Catholic School in Ottawa were assigned a project on social justice. They chose gay rights, but the principal said that a presentation on that topic would be inappropriate for children. . . . Initially, the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s position . . . was that the curriculum already “covers all topics around personhood, relationships and sexuality and is developed and taught in an age-appropriate manner” and that “the principal’s decision was made in this context and with the understanding that the project was going to be presented to younger students.”

After the press released the story, the OCSB chair says he has “reviewed the matter” and the principal at St. George Catholic School,

will be inviting the students and their parents in “for a follow up discussion to resolve this matter” adding that “we support the students’ sense of fair play and respect for all persons.”

Quinn’s mother is skeptical:

although the statement stopped short of saying the girls will be allowed to do their project about gay rights, she’s hopeful that they will.


“We absolutely hope that it means the girls can do their project,”

This skepticism has led to a petition: “Gay Rights Are Human Rights”

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered kids across Canada have it hard enough. The kids at St. George’s Catholic School deserve a gay-positive Prinicipal, one who will support two brilliant kids who want to discuss gay rights in their classroom.

The Ottawa Catholic School Board and Ann Beauchamp should deliver a public apology.

No kidding! Ontario publicly-funded Catholic school boards should stop taking direction from someone they call the “The Holy Father” and stop “desperately trying to hold on to the fiction that it [can] be Catholic and public at the same time in 2014.”

Better still, Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario government should stop funding two school systems and ensure that all Ontarians’ human rights are protected by one publicly-funded school system in Ontario.

9 thoughts on “Gay Rights Are Human Rights

  1. Heather Hastie

    Everyone’s insisting the new pope is a great bloke. Pope Francis is better than Pope Benedict, who in turn is better than Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran. That doesn’t make him a good guy. Gay people and women do not have the same rights as men in the Church he leads. He still hasn’t got rid of all the child-abusing priests. Even something as basic as contraception is still a sin, which, of course, adversely affects women and children more than men. He’s is trying to make some changes, but whatever he manages, there’s no doubt the Catholic Church will not meet the standards of the UN International Human Rights Convention.

  2. Joe

    >>The concept that gay rights are human rights should never be questioned; it should be a “truth universally acknowledged,”

    I think this statement is completely wrongheaded. It is like saying gay people are cool, because humans are cool, and don’t you dare think critically about what the word ‘cool’ actually means….. Because reasons.

    One of the fundamental problems with ‘human rights’ is that they often compete and conflict with each other, the right to free expression of ideas, vs the right to security of person often boils over into identity wars, whether it is about gays and sin, Muslims and blasphemy, or feminists and their ‘safe space for the oppressed’ ideology. In these cases people claim that mere words or pictures or opinions etc.. are equivalent to violence, or direct threats.

    We should always be skeptical when anyone claims… This thing we should never question.

    1. Corwin

      I agree entirely, and I’m also having trouble working out what “gay rights are human rights” is actually supposed to mean.

      1. Veronica Abbass Post author

        If you check the petition you will see “‘Gay rights are human rights,’ said former Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton.” I didn’t use quotation marks. Mea culpa.

        Of course, both you and Joe recognize the source for the phrase “truth universally acknowledged.”

        1. Joe

          Universal truth is an old phrase in philosophy, so one might be tempted to attribute it to Plato, Descartes, or Kant, but given the rather pompous phrasing, I would bet a modest fortune this particular phrasing comes from a more overly-verbose literary source…

        2. Corwin

          Isn’t it from the beginning of Pride and Prejudice? I thought it was at least semi-ironic in context, too, but I could be remembering wrong. I was forced to read some Jane Austen in high school, formed a strong impression of her writing as tiresome and small-minded, and haven’t gone back since.

          So what did Hillary Clinton mean by “gay rights are human rights”? Did she ever explain, or was it just a catchy slogan?

          1. Veronica Abbass Post author

            “I . . . formed a strong impression of her writing as tiresome and small-minded.”

            That’s blasphemy.

          2. Corwin

            I admit my reaction might be different if I were to give her another chance, now that it’s been twenty-odd years.

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