Anti-Abortion Group Organizes School Walk-Outs In Protest Of 2SLGBTQ+ Pride

Multiple days of walkouts and student absences were planned as part of Campaign Life Coalition’s objections to acknowledging Pride in schools.

Peter Smith

Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Source: MChe Lee/Unsplash

A national anti-abortion group organized a series of “pray-ins” and encouraged parents to keep their children home in protest of the raising of Pride flags at schools. 

Campaign Life Coalition is a far-right, anti-abortion, anti-2SLGBTQ+ advocacy group responsible for publications and protests across the country. CLC was behind this week’s “National Pride Flag Walk-Out Day(s),” asking supporters to keep their children home between May 31 to June 4 to protest the raising of Pride flags at schools.

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Intended to stave off the “transgender and homosexual indoctrination” and the “ongoing LGBT brainwashing of children” the protests and planned absences intend to create a visible message in classrooms. 

“CLC supporters from the majority of provinces are partaking and the media have started to take notice,” a notice about the event read. 

June 3 was also a day of coordinated “pray-ins” in Ontario, including Burlington, Elmvale, Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara. According to its website, CLC provided signs (though homemade signs were allowed, they were subject to approval by event organizers). 

Image of protesters posted on June 3 to the Campaign Life Coalition Facebook page. Source: Facebook

“This is a dreaded time by many parents and communities of faith,” a message from CLC National President Jeff Gunnarson said. “Real spiritual harm can be inflicted on impressionable children via an ideology that undermines their belief in the biblical understanding of marriage, human sexuality, and the reality that God made people as either male or female, not 56 genders (or however many they claim nowadays)!”

Billed as a Christian event, “explicitly Catholic at most locations,” CLC did invite people of other faiths to participate. 

Images from the protests shared on social media by CLC show groups, typically around a dozen, protesting outside of offices of Catholic Archdioceses, offices of Catholic Bishops, and Catholic school boards. Signs read “Yes to Jesus, No to Pride,” “Make Catholic schools Catholic again,” and “Stop grooming our children with the LGBT ideology.” 

Some of the pictures show school-age children holding signs and posing for protest photographs. 

Other related protests also appear to have taken place in other locations, including at least one directly outside of a school. In one instance, an organizer of 2023’s “1 million March 4 Children” was recording children at an Ottawa-area Catholic school as they took part in raising the Pride flag on Tuesday. Footage posted to the man’s social media accounts the day before showed him outside offices for the Ottawa Catholic District School Board, the location of one of CLC’s protests.

Campaign Life Coalition is a powerful influence in the Canadian far-right social conservative ecosystem. Since its founding in 1987, it has been involved in the creation and/or incubation of three media outlets, The Interim, Catholic Insight, and LifeSiteNews; one political party (the Family Coalition Party of Ontario); and numerous other anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ not-for-profit corporations, including REAL Women of Canada, Life Ethics Educational Association, Prolife Movement of Canada, and Women for Women’s Health.

The recent protests come on the heels of CLC’s “first ever” MarchForLife in Quebec on June 1. Images posted by the organization show large crowds of people walking the streets of Quebec City. The national MarchForLife protest descends on Ottawa each year, along with film screenings, a candlelight vigil, and sing-alongs, and culminates in speeches and a large march through the city starting in the shadow of parliament.

Taking place since 1998, this year's march was held on May 9. Speakers at the event included Conservative MPs Cathay Wagantall and Arnold Viersen. Both parliamentarians are unequivocal about their support for ending access to abortion in Canada. 

March For Life is only part of the advocacy carried out by the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), which defines itself as the “political arm of the pro-life” movement in Canada.

During elections at all levels of government, CLC releases the voting records and candidate evaluations of those running, aiming to install anti-abortion candidates into positions where they can institute change.

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