May 10, 2002

TORONTO (AP)--A gay youth cannot be banned from taking his boyfriend to the prom at a Roman Catholic high school, a judge ruled Friday.

Marc Hall, 17, was granted an injunction by the Superior Court of Justice allowing him to take his 21-year-old boyfriend to his prom Friday night at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic high school in Oshawa, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Toronto.

Hall's lawyer David Corbett said the ruling tells Catholic schools that they can't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

``You shouldn't be able to do that with anybody, but especially not young people in their care,'' Corbett said.

Corbett said the judge's decision is only an interim ruling, but that the school board has said it wants to argue its position in a trial. Corbett said Hall is prepared to do the same.

Durham District Cathlolic School Board lawyer Peter Lauwers has said the school board has the right under the Constitution to run its schools in accordance with Catholic teachings. Hall has the option of going to a public school, if he chooses, Lauwers said.

Corbett argued the board violated the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Education Act and the provincial code of conduct, which all bar discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

At a meeting last month, Hall asked school trustees to overturn a decision by the principal at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic high school forbidding him from bringing his male date to next month's prom. The trustees turned him down. The school board has said it supports Hall's right to be a homosexual but it rejects ``a homosexual lifestyle,'' such as taking a gay date to the prom.

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