Guide adds reference to gay rights

VANCOUVER — The federal government’s updated citizenship study guide contains a single sentence on gay rights in Canada, and that’s a sentence more than an earlier version that contained nothing on the topic.

VANCOUVER — The federal government’s updated citizenship study guide contains a single sentence on gay rights in Canada, and that’s a sentence more than an earlier version that contained nothing on the topic.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney used a swearing-in ceremony for new Canadians to release the second version of the government’s “Discover Canada” study guide, the first of which was released in the fall of 2009.

An early draft obtained by The Canadian Press noted homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969 and same-sex marriage legalized in 2005, but the November 2009 release contained no mention of gay rights.

The new version contains one sentence pointing out gay and lesbian Canadians enjoy full protection under the law, including civil marriage, but does not outline how those relatively recent rights came about.

Kenney still refuses to say whether he or his staff ordered the material excised from the guide, but insists it should be praised for containing any reference to gay rights, which were also absent from the book’s 1995 predecessor.

The newly updated guide also denounces violent extremism and stresses that Canada does not allow honour killings, female-genital mutilation or forced marriage.