Friday, December 04, 2009

Canadian court quashes human rights anti-gay ruling

A judge has ruled that a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate, written by a former Alberta pastor deploring homosexuality was not a hate crime.


CBC reports:
Justice E.C. Wilson overturned a 2008 ruling by the Alberta Human Rights Commission that the letter by Stephen Boissoin, published in the Red Deer Advocate in 2002, broke provincial law.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission found that the letter may have played a role in the beating of a gay teenager two weeks after it was published. The commission ordered Boissoin to refrain from making disparaging remarks about homosexuals and to pay the complainant, former Red Deer high school teacher Darren Lund (pictured), $5,000 in damages.

Lund, now a professor at the University of Calgary, said he was disappointed. "I really think this is a step backwards for our province," he said in an email to The Canadian Press. "In my view, the judge's ruling sets such strict standards for hate speech that this section is rendered all but unenforceable. I'm hopeful that Albertans hope to keep our communities inclusive and respectful for all people, but this ruling certainly offers no assistance in this regard. If the language contained in the letter does not meet the threshold of hateful, I am not certain what possibly would."