UCP members ignore MLA pleas to vote against gay-straight alliance motion

Despite pleas from three MLAs, a majority of United Conservative Party members passed a motion at their inaugural convention Sunday to support a parent’s right to be informed when their child joins a gay-straight alliance. 

The motion passed with 57 per cent support even though members were being urged to vote against it by Calgary-Hays MLA Ric McIver, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Jason Nixon, and Chestermere-Rocky View MLA Leela Aheer.

“This is about outing gay kids,” McIver said, as he was jeered by the crowd. “Don’t be called the Lake of Fire party, I’m begging you.

“This will really severely hurt our chances at winning. Don’t do that to yourself.”

Brian Coldwell, a pastor, said the motion is about parental rights.

“Governments and activists cannot have more authority over children than parents,” he told the crowd. “It’s not about anti-gay. It’s about fundamental, God-given freedoms.”

Aheer argued freedoms extend to everyone, including the right for children to have safe spaces.

“Please vote against this resolution,” she said.

Last fall, the governing NDP passed a law that makes it illegal for schools to tell parents if a student joins a GSA, which are extracurricular clubs. 

LGBTQ advocates say this measure protects vulnerable teenagers who may not be ready to come out to their parents, and could face abuse at home for disclosing their sexual orientation. 

Education Minister David Eggen will be making comments this afternoon.

UCP Leader Jason Kenney has said policies passed this weekend may not necessarily make it into the party’s platform.

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