Teresa Pierre, along with more than 1,000 Ontarians, thinks the Ontario English Catholic Teacher's Associations' decision to have representation in the World Pride Parade should be overturned. Photo by Evan Boudreau.

Catholic parents start petition against OECTA participation at gay pride parade

  • April 21, 2014

TORONTO - At least 1,000 Ontarians are calling on the province's Catholic school trustees to demand the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association abandon its decision to have representation at the World Pride Parade.  

On April 18 Teresa Pierre, president of Parents As First Educators (PAFE), started an online petition to put pressure on the Catholic trustees to push back against the union. During the Easter weekend the petition, which Pierre said came as a response to a Catholic Register article highlighting the union's decision, garnered more than 1,000 names.

The World Pride Parade is to be held in Toronto on June 29. The annual parade, part of the Pride festivities, is known for blatant public nudity and sexually explicit messages.

“This event is inconsistent with what the Church teaches about homosexuality,” wrote Pierre.

So far no Catholic trustees have publicly gone against OECTA's decision, which came out of the union's Annual General Meeting early this year. The Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association (OCSTA) also is not weighing in on the union's decision.

"OECTA's decision to participate in the World Pride Parade is an internal decision of the union and is not an issue on which OCSTA will comment," said Sharon McMillan, an OCSTA spokesperson.

“The Pride Parade breaks nudity laws and participants promote homosexual activity, instead of sex in marriage, and simulates extreme behaviour like sado-masochism, which demeans the roles of men and women in loving relationships.” wrote Pierre, who noted that a Toronto public trustee, Sam Sotiropolous, has put forward a motion seeking to pressure police to enforce the city's anti-nudity laws during the event. “Catholic trustees need to step up and do their part to say the Pride event is not suitable for families and not supportable for any Catholic organization.”

Pierre said she frequently receives complaints from both parents and teachers regarding OECTA's disregard for the Church's position regarding homosexuality.

“Catholics are to support homosexuals, and all unmarried adults, in living a chaste lifestyle.”

She closed by saying that PAFE hopes that trustees will listen to the voters as the number of digital signatures grows and demand the union withdraw from the Pride Parade.

“It's time for OECTA to reconsider the damage its stands are doing to the Catholic community,” she wrote. “Catholic parents expect a Catholic teachers' union to support the timeless teachings of the Church on marriage and family.”

OECTA however is not entertaining that idea at the moment.

“No because the decision was a motion at the annual general meeting," said James Ryan, president of OECTA. "It would be very difficult for a provincial executive to overturn a decision from the annual general meeting. There would have to be new and compelling information for an executive to overturn the decision.”

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