National Catholic Register

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Traditional Marriage Advocates Finding Increasing Intolerance

BY GAIL BESSE

Register Correspondent

August 20-26, 2006 Issue | Posted 8/21/06 at 9:00 AM

 

QUESNEL, B.C. — Christopher Kempling applied for a counseling job in his public school district in Canada’s western province of British Columbia. In June, he was not only turned down — he was banned from all counseling positions district-wide.

Underqualified? He has a doctorate in psychology.

But he also has strong Christian beliefs and a history of speaking out against the homosexual lifestyle.

His case and a growing number of developments in Canada and the United States make for an interesting paradox: While homosexual activists have been clamoring for tolerance, there is a growing trend of intolerance for those who speak against their lifestyle, especially those who speak from profound religious convictions.

“Although I was the most qualified applicant, my superiors don’t wish to allow me access to students who may be of alternate orientation (even though there has never been a complaint against me from one),” he said.

Kempling’s saga began in 1997 when, on his own time, he wrote several letters to his local paper in Quesnel. He criticized his teachers’ union for promoting homosexuality.

A member of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, he cited research showing the lifestyle’s dangers.

For these “discriminatory writings,” Kempling was convicted of “unbecoming conduct” in 2002 by the British Columbia College of Teachers. He’s been suspended without pay twice, for a total of four months.

He was also punished by school officials when later, as a Christian Heritage Party candidate for Parliament, he publicly explained his party’s opposition to same-sex “marriage.”

He unsuccessfully appealed to both the province’s appeals and supreme courts as a violation of his rights of free speech and religion. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal refused to hear him, and finally the Supreme Court of Canada in January declined the case.

“It’s astounding this can be happening in a free and democratic society,” said Kempling, 50.

U.S. Trend

In Canada, same-sex “marriage” is legal, and public criticism of homosexuality is a hate crime (a bill passed in 2004 added “sexual orientation” to a federal law that forbids anyone from speaking or publishing materials that could bring “incitement of hatred and genocide” against listed groups). Alberta talk-show host Craig Chandler faces costs up to $250,000 to fight a complaint that he allowed a criticism on his website.

“The writing’s on the wall for the U.S.,” Kempling said in a phone interview, commenting on the growing push to squelch any criticism of the lifestyle. “Unfortunately a precedent is being set,” he said. “If other teachers try to speak up, courts will say, ‘Look at the Kempling case.’”

Already, Canada has influenced American law. MassachusettsSupreme Judicial Court in the 2003 case Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health ordered the state legislature to legalize such “marriages.” Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said that in the case, the “only authority cited on point was the Court of Appeals of Ontario, Canada.

“There was no American case law to cite, since no American court had ever held that there was a fundamental constitutional right to same sex ‘marriage,’” Bull said.

Now that it is legal, officials and advocates are working hard to make it seem normal. Several Lexington, Mass., parents made nationwide news, and one father went to jail, when they protested their elementary school’s homosexual-friendly curriculum. The Massachusetts Legislature in July quadrupled the 2007 budget to nearly $2 million for school programs aimed at “outreach to” and “support and safety of gay and lesbian students.” It created a permanent Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth that will be handpicked by homosexual activists to oversee how this money is spent. The commission is not subject to the control of any other department.

The trend is national. The National Education Association voted in July to eliminate “discrimination” against same-sex unions and homosexual “marriages” in states that have legalized them. The 2.8-million member union also decided to replace the word “tolerance” with the word “acceptance” in its policies.

There’s intimidation at work too, marriage defenders claim. Those who signed a marriage amendment petition in the Bay State had their names and addresses posted on a website put up by homosexual activists who said its purpose was to “promote dialogue.” When churches last fall urged parishioners to support a petition for the amendment, protestors stood outside warning, “When you sign, it’s online.”

Among the repercussions: a Truro man was denied reappointment to a town post and a Catholic businesswoman in Provincetown was verbally harassed.

Tom Lang, founder of the pro-homosexual “marriage” website Knowthyneighbor.org, defended the action. “We do not condone yelling and insults,” he said. “That incident was wrong.”

As for the protests at churches, he said the group was respectful. “Just as people have a right to sign a petition, people also have a right to question those who would have their rights taken away,” he said.

Fighting Back

But grassroots groups are fighting back, and one that’s had some success exposing homosexual activism is Mass Resistance.

“I don’t think [this cultural battle] is as hopeless as people think,” said the Waltham, Mass.-based head, Brian Camenker, who is Jewish. He has found that photos and the Internet are great communicators.

For example, Macy’s department store was taken by surprise in June when thousands of callers jammed its Boston and New York phone lines to protest a Boston window display that touted “Gay Pride Week.” The display featured two male mannequins, both with enlarged breasts and one wearing a rainbow-colored wraparound that resembled a skirt.

Mass Resistance e-mailed photos to its supporters; within two days Macy’s removed the mannequins.

Dr. Gilbert Lavoie, an East Boston Catholic with public health experience (he served two years in the Army as chief of epidemiology and infectious diseases for the European Command and also worked for the World Health Organization Smallpox Eradication Program in Bangladesh), recently spoke on Mass Resistance’s weekly radio show about the issue’s long-term effects.

“We should not be teaching our children that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equal,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing to confuse the minds of young children.”

Gail Besse is based in

Hull, Massachusetts.