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This article was published 22/3/2013 (1529 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Phil Dupuis never thought of himself as an activist -- not until the opposition to Bill 18 got him riled up.
Specifically, the provision in the anti-bullying bill that sets out if a student asks to form a gay-straight alliance in his or her school, any public or private school receiving government funding must accommodate the student.
He was particularly bothered by a homophobic slur he heard being thrown at a gay student as the student was being interviewed on TV.
"That set off the spark. I've never been an activist -- presto! An activist was born," Dupuis said Friday.
Now Dupuis is a staunch supporter of Education Minister Nancy Allan's Bill 18, and through his We the People: Manitoba Facebook page, organizing a rally Thursday at the legislature from 3 to 5 p.m.
"I wasn't looking for this issue. People instantly took to it," said Dupuis from his home in rural Manitoba.
Dupuis doesn't want to say where he lives, because he's also taking flack on his Facebook site.
"There's a lot of weird ones out there," he noted.
Dupuis is a married, straight 45-year-old with three daughters, he said. "Two of them are lesbian. My sister is lesbian and married.
"They're as much a part of the fabric of this province as anyone else."
Dupuis said he started his Facebook page because of unhappiness over some civic and government officials, but now it's all about Bill 18.
"Sometimes government officials need to be held accountable and have their feet held to the fire," he said.
"This time, credit needs to be given where credit is due."
The rally is intended to keep Bill 18 all-inclusive.
Allan has said she will not amend Bill 18, expected to be law when school opens in September, despite charges it violates religious freedom.
Organizers hope to attract more students by holding it during March break, when students are out of school.
Allan said Friday that she is aware of the rally, but will be out of the city on Thursday.
"If we're asked, we'll find someone to speak there," Allan said.