Pro-family advocates in Canada are in an uproar over the newly passed Bill 89, which allows the government to take children away from parents who don't support the LGBTQI ideology.
The bill, also known as the Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act of 2017, was passed last week by a vote of 63 to 23 in Ontario. It replaces the Child and Family Services Act, which used to cover child protection services and adoption and foster care services, according to LifeSiteNews.
The bill also says gender identity and gender expression must be considered "in the best interests of the child."
Bill 89 seeks "to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children" by ensuring that child services are given in a way that respects regional differences and considers their "physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and developmental needs and differences among children and young persons;" their "race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression;" and their "cultural and linguistic needs."
While the old Child and Family Services Act allowed parents to direct their child's education and religious upbringing, Bill 89 does not take into account the religious faith in which parents will bring up their child, but directs child protection services to consider only the child's own preference for creed and religion.
Minister of Child and Family Services Michael Coteau, who introduced the bill, said the new legislation can be used to remove a child from an "abusive" environment that does not consider his or her gender identity.
"I would consider that a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no, you need to do this differently," he said.
"If it's abuse, and if it's within the definition, a child can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops."
The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth said Bill 89 represents a "paradigm shift" for Ontario and lauded the legislation for its "commitment" in upholding the rights of children.
"I believe that this new Act, in its principles, represents a paradigm shift for the province with its commitment to the participation of children and youth in every decision that affects them, the creation of a child-centered system of service, and commitment to anti-racism and children's rights," Irwin Elman, Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, said in a statement.
Pro-family groups are crying foul over the bill.
"This is a direct hit against parental authority," Tanya Granic Allen, executive director of Parents As First Educators (PAFE), said, according to LifeSiteNews. PAFE was among those who lobbied against the bill's passage.
Nonprofit organization Real Women of Canada says Bill 89 is an attack against the Canadian family.
"Premier Kathleen Wynne of Ontario mounted her high horse again to further impose her ideological views on innocent children by way of recently introduced Bill 89," the organization said on its website.
"Bill 89 affirms Ms. Wynne's belief that children belong to the State, not to their parents. During her term of office, she has done everything in her power to separate the children from their natural family."
The organization pointed out "deep concerns" regarding the bill, such as the broadly defined clause "best interests of the child" used in the legislation. It also said the bill gives the state wide jurisdiction and control over a child and opens families to the risk of having a child removed "on the basis of the ambiguous provisions."
This can be true particularly for regulations in the bill that do not require public debate or legislative approval.
The organization cited a provision in the bill allowing a child experiencing "mental or emotional harm" to be removed from his or her family. This does not take into account the fact that, at certain stages in their growth, children are prone to resist their parents' guidance.
"The reality, too, is that many children do resist parental direction as a part of the growing up process," Real Women of Canada said. "As a result they may experience 'mental and emotional' discomfort when their parents insist that they do as instructed. This parent/child conflict could, under provisions of the bill, lead to the removal of the child from the home."
The organization said Bill 89 controls the natural family and "usurps the responsibility of the parents" to bring up their children based on their values.
Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign for Life Coalition, said the bill presents a "grave threat" to believers.
"Make no mistake, Bill 89 is a grave threat to Christians and all people of faith who have children, or who hope to grow their family through adoption," Fonseca said.
He urged Christian parents to resist the bill and to ask their religious leaders to stand up for the protection of parental rights.