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Jamaica: Lesbians & Gay Males Organize

British Columbia's Schools
Can't Ban Gay Books

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

Jamaica: Lesbians & Gay Males Organize

jamaicaflag.gif - 18.29 K Gays in Jamaica formed an organization called the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and drew immediate hostility from the government by calling for repeal of the island's ban on gay sex.

"Homosexuality and discrimination against gays and lesbians are legitimate human-rights issues which must be treated as such," J- FLAG spokesman Brian Williamson said.

Justice Minister K.D. Knight disagreed.

"There's no plan by the government to repeal the laws relevant to homosexual activities," he told Reuters December 16. "The law is founded in a moral imperative which has not changed."
British Columbia's Schools Can't Ban Gay Books

mountie.gif - 20.41 K The Supreme Court of the Canadian province of British Columbia ruled December 16 that the school board of the Vancouver suburb of Surrey erred in banning books about gay relationships from kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.

The court ordered the board to re-evaluate the books "Asha's Mums," "One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads" and "Belinda's Bouquet" without taking into account the sexual orientation of the characters or the religious convictions of board members.

"It's the first time in Canada a court has been asked to rule on whether a school board could exclude from the curriculum ... books which have content depicting same-sex families," said lawyer Joe Arvay, who represented two gay teachers who filed suit against the ban. "The court said, 'No, they can't.'"

B.C. Education Minister Paul Ramsey was pleased with the ruling.

"The court's action sends a very positive signal to those in Surrey and throughout the province who want schools to be inclusive and tolerant places for all our children," he told the Vancouver Sun.
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