TORONTO, November 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) - The Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) voted early Friday morning to add "gender identity" and "gender expression" to its code of conduct.
Critics say the move will compel Catholic students and teachers to submit to LGBT ideology that claims, contrary to Catholic teaching, that males can "transition" into females and females into males.
The TCDSB trustees voted eight to four to add the terms, as well as "marital status and family status," to the code, which governs students and teachers. The Toronto Catholic District School Board is one of the largest boards in Canada with over 90,000 students.
According to the policy update, "all members of the school community must: respect and treat others fairly, regardless of, for example, race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability."
Garry Tanuan, Michael Del Grande, Nancy Crawford and Teresa Lubinski voted against the policy amendment following a marathon seven-hour and often heated meeting that ended at 2 AM.
According to a TCDSB report submitted just before the meeting, the Archdiocese of Toronto has approved adding the terms with the proviso that these be "interpreted through the lens of the Catholic faith."
The report "was the first time the archdiocese's views on the matter had been made public," reported the Toronto Star.
The report was "the result of ongoing discussions behind the scenes between the archdiocese and board staff in trying to come up with language for TCDSB policy that follows the law and respects Catholic teaching," according to the Star.
But Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition says "there's no such thing as ‘a Catholic lens,' through which people can be taught to respect sin and embrace sin."
"The resulting language is a betrayal of the Catholic faith and a form of apostasy," said Fonseca, director of political operations for Campaign Life.
"Gender identity theory directly attacks the image of God in creation, which was created male and female, and an attack on the image of God is a form of apostasy," he told LifeSiteNews.
Campaign Life Coalition, Canada's largest pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, has been mobilizing supporters to lobby against the policy amendment.
The pro-family group also petitioned Toronto's Cardinal Thomas Collins to direct trustees to vote against including the terms, a petition signed by 2,753 people to date.
Friday morning's vote comes after months of bitter controversy generated by an October 2018 ministry of education request that all school boards align their codes of conduct to comply with the provincial code and the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC). The provincial code and the OHRC both prohibit discrimination against an individual based on that person's "gender identity" and "gender expression."
Boards were asked to comply by November 4.
The board has heard dozens of delegations since March, many of these warning that adding the terms to the code would enshrine the false gender ideology in the code in contradiction of Catholic teaching.
Campaign Life has also petitioned for board chair Maria Rizzo to resign over the matter.
Rizzo has been in the forefront in pushing for including the terms, arguing that it is the law. She said Thursday night including the terms does not mean the board is condoning gender theory or homosexuality
However, delegate Chris Elliott, a youth minister from St. Timothy's, spoke for many who opposed amending the policy when he warned doing so was a "Trojan horse" that would fundamentally undercut Catholic beliefs.
"Your vote as board members will have far-reaching consequences, I daresay it will be historic," Elliott told trustees. "It will either be the day where you took a firm stand for Christ and defended our Catholic beliefs and values or.... the day you timidly surrendered them for all of us."
Contact information for respectful communications:
Cardinal Thomas Collins, Office of the Cardinal
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1W2
Ph: 416-934-0606, ext. 609
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Catholic school board excludes gender ideology in code of conduct, but bitter battle's not over