Editor, The News:
I am a 17-year-old gay male student at Thomas Haney Secondary School and I cannot yet vote.
That doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention.
After hearing and reading about Marc Dalton’s statement in the legislature on Oct. 18, I honestly feel somewhat ashamed to be from Maple Ridge.
It actually sickens me that he would not only mention his support for a completely anti-homosexual religious group, but go further and promote them in the Legislature.
Homophobia aside, why is a political leader of any kind promoting a specific religious group.
I guess I wasn’t informed that separation of church and state no longer applied.
What actually hurt me the most was that Mr. Dalton is a past high school teacher. He has witnessed, first-hand, the bullying and homophobia that occurs in every high school, no matter where you are, and he must know the effects these disgusting comments can cause.
It is this bigotry and hate that has been causing the hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered teenage suicides.
Promotion of this group leads me to believe that he’s trying to oppress LGBT youth and adults, alike.
Being in high school is difficult enough; there’s always a reason to be bullied.
But now teenagers can look to authoritative figures and think they deserve it.
They think they can rightfully be compared to any other immoral act that Mr. Dalton thinks should be illegal.
It makes me sick that a previous educator and my own MLA could look at what’s been happening, witness what’s constantly happening in any public school, and indirectly tell LGBT youth that there is something wrong with them, and they need to be ‘healed.’
Andrew van Baarsen
MLA Marc Dalton (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows), in the Legislature on Oct. 18, promoted Alpha, a free, 10-week program in which people can meet to discuss God, the afterlife and the teachings of Christ. At no time did he refer to homosexuality or healing, but did mention Alpha founder Nicky Gumbel.