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ERIC Number: EJ841618
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1541-0889
Surrey, British Columbia: Book Ban in the Courts
Carter, Julie H.
Journal of Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education, v1 n4 p81-85 2004
In light of its recent and unequivocal support of gay civil unions, Canada enhanced its reputation as the most tolerant and progressive country in the western hemisphere. Regardless of how far people come in the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender visibility, there will be minor setbacks along the way. Around the same time as the nationwide adoption of the right to civil union (June 2003), a school board in Surrey, British Columbia, voted 7 to 2 to ban three early childhood books that validate the lives of gay families. Although not a first where North American school boards are concerned, this action was particularly notable considering a Supreme Court of Canada ruling against the school board's ban in December of 2002. Despite the apparent setback in June, the December decision by Canada's highest court deserves attention for three reasons. First, careful consideration of the arguments made against the books can help individuals understand how GLBT opponents craft their arguments. Second, deconstructing legal victories clarify how democratic legal systems frame GLBT interests. And third, it is vital that individuals acknowledge how this ruling advances the cause of teaching for diversity. Thankfully, the arguments advanced by the Surrey Board had no sway with the Supreme Court justices. Their decision was based on whether the board had acted "reasonably" within the bounds of its authority and whether it had violated the clause of secularity in the School's Act of British Columbia. In its 7-2 ruling, the Court found that the school board (and superintendent), in its refusal to include these books, did not refer to the absence of restrictions on the choices of materials made to fulfill curricular objectives, nor did they refer to the emphasis on diversity and tolerance in the School's Act. Neither did they refer to the secular nature of public schooling. Their decision (and parental complaints) hinged on the belief that homosexuality is an immoral way of life and that revealing its existence corrupts children's minds. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada