Poll says GSAs popular, Catholic schools are not
A Research Forum poll released May 15 says that the majority of Ontarians favour gay-straight alliances and oppose Catholic school funding.
According to the poll, just over half of Ontarians (51 per cent) agree that students in Catholic schools should be able to form gay-straight alliances and that the numbers of people who disagree are gradually declining with 28 per cent are opposed to them and 21 per cent are undecided. Lorne Bozinoff, president of Research Forum, told the Toronto Star there is growing support for GSAs in schools, saying: “Now that people are more familiar with them, there’s more support for them.”
Bozinoff suggests that the controversy of GSAs might be feeding opposition to public funding of separate schools. His company found 53 per cent oppose public funding of Catholic schools, while 40 per cent support it and six per cent are undecided.
Fr. Alphonse deValk, editor of Catholic Insight, questioned the methodology of the polls however. In reaction to the findings, he told The Interim that the poll “is not worth the paper it’s printed on.”
While teachers unions have endorsed GSAs, school trustees and many parents still maintain an opposition to the groups because they are not in accordance with Catholic doctrine, Fr. de Valk explained. He also said that it will fuel legal challenges for years to come, costing the government money to defend its attack on Catholic education. Fr. deValk said foisting GSAs on the separate school system “would certainly disappoint the Catholic community.” He said Catholic schools “won’t sacrifice their freedom of conscience and freedom of religion for something that so directly goes against the teaching of Christ and the history of the Church.”
The poll revealed Liberal and NDP supporters are most likely to back GSAs. The Star reported that NDP leader Andrea Horwath said Catholic schools should be forced to have such clubs and that they must be called gay-straight alliances.