Oasis

News - December 1995

Catholic group legally attacks gay student program

The Catholic Defense League of St. Paul, Minn., is suing to obtain information about a school program for gay students.

Out for Equity began in the St. Paul Public Schools in fall 1994 to establish support groups for gay, lesbian and bisexual students. It also provides students with information and referrals to outside agencies and support services. The Catholic group has publicly objected to parts of the program.

In a complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court on Oct. 24, the Catholic Defense League says the school district has not provided them with information about the program despite repeat requests.

The league is asking a judge to make the district provide the answers to those questions, contending the league has a right to the information under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. The league also demands the district pay a $10,000 penalty for not providing the information in a timely manner, as required by law.

According to the complaint, the league wants:

In a letter to Superintendent Curman Gaines on Sept. 12, Rosemary Kassekert, chairwoman of the league's legal task force, said the school of misrepresenting the league's position on the program.

''At no time did the Catholic Defense League state to you or any member of the School Board or any member of the media that the League was against all counseling or against support groups for homosexual youth. As far as the information you have given us, 'Out for Equity,' has only one type of counseling ... that of gay clinics and organizations which do not agree with Catholic teaching on homosexuality. That is why the program restricts the religious rights of Catholic parents and students ...

''Because our position has been misrepresented, and because the reasoned, compassionate approach we have taken has been virtually ignored, we have resorted to the legal approach of requesting a 'data practices' set of answers to specific questions.''

(Article based on information initially reported in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Wednesday, October 25, 1995 by Molly Guthrey, Staff Writer)


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