Gay student wants Yukon bishop to back off

Student at a Whitehorse Catholic high school wants policy condemning homosexual acts removed.

Vanier Catholic school calls homosexual acts depraved

Vanier Catholic Secondary school Grade 11 student Liam Finnegan wants the school's policy condemning homosexual acts to be reversed. (CBC)

A gay student at Vanier Catholic Secondary in Whitehorse is speaking out against the school's policy on sexual orientation.

The policy follows the teachings of the Catholic Church, which hold that homosexual acts are 'intrinsically disordered' and are 'acts of grave depravity.' Some parents, students and teachers at other schools have expressed concerns about the policy.

Liam Finnegan, 16, is in Grade 11 at the school. He said he won’t apologize for being gay, and homosexuals do not have a disorder.

"It's who I am, and I believe that nobody should have to say 'I'm sorry for being who I am'," Finnegan said.

Bishop Gary Gordon heads the Whitehorse Diocese which has oversight over all Roman Catholic churches, organizations and schools in Yukon.

Gordon said as a Catholic school, Vanier's policies must adhere to the beliefs of the Church.   

"Homosexual activity is always morally wrong," Gordon said.

The Department of Education's policy says all Yukon schools must ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are treated with 'respect and dignity.'

A spokesperson said they are working with Vanier to bring the school's policy into line with the overall departmental policy. But Bishop Gordon said the department approved Vanier's policy last spring.

"It was vetted by the Department of Education, the policy people," he said.

Finnegan wants Gordon to re-think that.

He said the policy which calls homosexual acts disordered and depraved is demeaning. 

"He (Gordon) needs to respect every individual, he needs to understand that everybody is equal," Finnegan said.

"I'm not harming anybody. I am not harming myself. I am not putting a burden on anybody. I'm just attracted to the same sex and that doesn't create a disorder in any way."

Finnegan wants the policy repealed, and removed from the school's website. He also wants to be allowed to create a Gay-Straight Alliance at his school.

F.H. Collins and Porter Creek secondary schools both have the groups.

Scott Kent, the minister of education, has refused to speak to CBC News on the matter.