Sadly, Canada is not immune to homophobic school situations. Lisa Reimer lives in British Columbia and is claiming her Catholic school’s decision to boot her off the property has everything to do with the fact that she has a same-sex partner.
“They say, ‘You’re employed ‘til the end of June 30, and you’ll be paid out, but you’re no longer allowed on campus to see the girls, and all classes have been cancelled,” she told reporters at a press conference.
She says that this is all because parents found out that she’s gay.
“They would not allow a gay or lesbian teacher to employ their girls for fear that it would lead them astray.”
The school denies that Reimer was actually fired, but has refused to comment on the specific allegations against it.
Little Flower is a private school, but still receives public funding — nearly $2 million last year alone.
Robert Holmes, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, claims the school did nothing wrong – legally at least. They’re allowed to kick out anyone they don’t like for any reason they want to, apparently.
“As a matter of our constitution law protected by the Charter (of Rights and Freedoms), people have the right to associate in groups. That means that churches are protected and can define their membership,”
What if Ms. Reimer is Catholic and therefore would have every right to associate with that group? The article doesn’t mention what her religious beliefs might be, unfortunately.
“She has a choice as well, and choice is to not work there, not to associate with them,” Holmes said.
Too bad it doesn’t say how long she had been working for them before this happened. What if she wanted to teach in a Catholic school because the rest of the school’s ethics suited her own values, whether she was Catholic or not? Or maybe she wanted to work there because it was the best possible school she could hope to work for. The article doesn’t mention her incentive for working there in the first place and I think it’s ludicrous of Holmes to think his solution’s good enough. “Just say no!” Balls.
Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Teachers Federation, told CTV that public funding of this school means public tax dollars are going toward religious decisions that violate people’s rights, like Reimer’s loss of employment. If it really has to do with her being gay, then that is a human rights violation, no matter how special a club these Catholics think they belong to. This school made a bad call. Her sexuality has nothing to do with how good a teacher she is so I hope Reimer gets a lot of support on her side.
quick edit: The Province is taking her side.