Metro file photo Kent Hehr, MLA for Calgary Buffalo.

Alberta’s Liberal education critic is accusing the government of getting “squeamish” about sexual orientation as the proposed Education Act has inched closer to becoming law.

Calgary MLA Kent Hehr attempted to push forward an amendment late Tuesday to re-include references to human rights legislation on the act, which passed first and second reading.

The references were on previous drafts on the legislation and were heavily advocated by former education minister-turned-deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk; however, some Alberta homeschoolers worried it would prevent them from sharing personal views on sexual orientation with their children.

Hehr’s amendment had garnered support from the NDP but was defeated by both the ruling Tories and opposition Wildrose.

“They obviously meant something by it when they included it the first time,” Hehr said of the human rights references. “The government is allowing them a caveat — or at least in those people’s minds — that they’re allowed to continue their hatred, their bigotry.”

But current Education Minister Jeff Johnson said the Alberta Human Rights Act still applies regardless of if it’s mentioned in the bill.

“Every kid that walks into that school, regardless of where they come from, what their culture is or orientation, deserves to be welcome and accepted in a safe environment,” Johnson said. “There’s nothing in that bill that would lead anyone to believe the opposite.”

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