Parents group defending pamphlet on gays

A Langley-based parents group that demands children be allowed to leave the classroom if there's any discussion of gays and lesbians, is appearing before the B.C. Human Rights Commission.

The Citizens' Research Institute is defending its controversial pamphlet called the "declaration of parents' rights." The flyer says parents should be able to exclude children from lessons portraying the gay lifestyle as normal and acceptable.

Kari Simpson is the Institute's executive director. She feels families need protection, "because the parent very clearly states in the declaration that this information will violate their religious beliefs, their cultural beliefs, or their moral beliefs," she says.

Some teachers say the pamphlet is unacceptable.

One of the forms was filed at a Surrey elementary school three years ago. Teacher Murray Warren says that lead to the complaint against the Institute. "It has a tremendous chilling effect on the public education system," he says. "I think it sends a very clear message that gay and lesbian students, or children of gay and lesbian people, are not to be tolerated."

The tribunal has been hearing the case this month, but it's still unclear when it will finish. Meanwhile, the Citizens' Research Institute has now gone to the B.C. Supreme Court, seeking to have part of the province's Human Rights Code declared unconstitutional.