“Yes, Minister” are the only two words Yukon’s Bishop Gary Gordon needs to say to Yukon’s education minister Scott Kent. On March 5, the bishop had a meeting with the education minister who made it very clear to the bishop that
Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Whitehorse must drop its controversial policy on homosexuality.
Gordon, who most likely heard the word must as should, obviously ignored the the minister’s order because on March 6, Gordon said,
the controversial same-sex policy at Vanier Catholic Secondary School will stay in place.
In a statement to CBC News, Gordon further emphasized the bigotry and inflexibility of the Catholic Church and its clergy:
[Gordon] says the church believes homosexuality is wrong, and he said that belief will not change.
“Well the teaching of the Church is always going to guide what goes on in a Catholic school,” said Gordon.
Gordon says he knows some people have difficulty with the Church’s views, but he says no one is forcing gay students to attend a Catholic school.
In response to Bishop Gordon’s statements, Education minister Scott Kent wrote an open letter to Gordon , published in Whitehorse Star, that confirmed what the government expects from publicly funded Catholic schools in the Yukon:
As we discussed and agreed, the most important issue to keep at the forefront of any and all discussions about this matter is that students feel safe, welcome, and protected at all schools in the Yukon.
I would like to begin by reiterating the mutual commitments that have existed in the Yukon for over fifty years between the government and the Episcopal Corporation on behalf of the Catholic residents of the Yukon.
Included in the mutual commitments are
That the Yukon government is responsible for operating and maintaining separate schools for children of Catholic parents in the Yukon.
That the Episcopal Corporation and the government agree that the Catholic separate schools must be operated, maintained, and governed in accordance with all laws that are in force in the Yukon.
Now those commitments seem pretty clear: the Yukon government pays for the operation and maintenance of separate Catholic schools, and these publicly funded Catholic schools must follow all the laws passed by the Yukon government. What is it that the bishop doesn’t understand?
Kent is also very clear that
in several respects the Episcopal Corporation’s policy is inconsistent with and does not meet all of the requirements of Yukon Education’s policies and likely other laws in force in the Yukon such as the Human Rights Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and other case law on equality rights.
It is time for Yukon’s Bishop Gary Gordon to read the open letter from the Yukon’s education minister Scott Kent. It is time for Bishop Gordon to say Yes, minister and obey the law.
Congratulations Mr. Kent on your firm stand! It’s time to take the next step: follow Quebec and stop funding Catholic schools.