Edmonton Sun

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

NAC's secret is out

Half are lesbians, women's group admits

Edmonton Sun

OTTAWA -- The National Action Committee on the Status of Women has finally come out of the closet about who its membership is - at least half are lesbian.

An e-mail obtained by The Sun and confirmed by a NAC official said the lobby group speaks for 740 groups representing three million women and "at least 50%" are lesbian.

NAC has never come clean on who it represents, but has for the first time undertaken a study of who its members are, spokesman Mariam Abou-Dib said yesterday.

The makeup of the group was revealed after "the largest women's organization in Canada" was refused standing at the Commons justice committee, where extending benefits to same-sex couples is being studied.

"It gets worse when REAL Women is invited and NAC is not," president Joan Grant-Cummings says in the e-mail.

"Equality-seeking women deserve a chance to express their opinions and concerns on this important question of human rights, and instead, Canadian women will be grossly misrepresented."

The federal government used to fund NAC to the tune of about $200,000 a year - about 25% of its budget - until it pulled the plug in 1997.

A spokesman for REAL Women, which supports traditional marriages and opposes same-sex benefits said her group has sensed for years that NAC was not speaking on behalf of the average Canadian woman, though it says it does.

"That's not very representative of the general population," Diane Watts said about the revelation that the majority of NAC's members are lesbians.

Copyright 2000, Canoe Limited Partnership.