Finding against anti-gay “activist” Bill Whatcott, the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld hate-speech provisions of the province of Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code. In a unanimous decision, Canada’s top court found that infringing rights of expression and religion, as contained in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, could be justified as “reasonable limits.”
Whatcott had distributed four anti-gay pamphlets that “used words like ‘filth,’ ‘propaganda’ and ‘sodomy’ to describe gay relationships and the discussion of equality,” as reported by the CBC in this video clip.
While two of Whatcott’s flyers were found to constitute hate speech, two others were not. The court struck down the section of the SK Human Rights Code disallowing speech that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground” as unreasonable. Justin Marshall Rothstein wrote, “These flyers are potentially offensive but lawful contributions to the public debate on the morality of homosexuality.” Um, okay.
Whatcott has refused to pay the $7,500 in damages ordered by the court and has vowed to continue his anti-gay campaign in the name of Christianity, even as sensible Christians shake their heads and mutter that this nutter is completely missing the point.
Who needs a little thing like Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms to keep landlord Will Goertzen in line. It gets trumped by the fact that Goertzen fears that that God will “strike him down” wrath upon him if he rents to a gay couple! And that’s why he tore up the lease he signed with Scott Robertson and Richard Anthony, denying them the flat after learning they were a couple, because homosexuality “isn’t natural and it’s a crime against nature. I can definitely not have a part in it,” he told the Human Rights Commission. And what did Goertzen’s Christian act allegedly do? Made Robertson and Anthony homeless for 10 days as they searched for a new home, as they had just sold their house. The men want $23,500, each, in punitive damages.
Goertzen told the commission he recognizes the supremacy of God over the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “There’s a reason I’m fearful: God is bigger than me and any person on Earth,” he said.
“It was a terrible feeling of helplessness to see everything unfold and not do anything about it. It was like being in a dream and not being able to scream,” Scott Robertson said and added the experience has made him more cautious when meeting new people and he holds back from telling them about his personal life.
“There’s a whole part of my life I’ve been hiding from people.”
Goertzen said the case has been tough on him too. “Do you think this has been easy for me? I love you, Mr. Robertson, but I hate the sin you’re in.”
The Human Rights Commission adjudicator said he will release his decision later this summer and hopefully Robertson and Anthony are going to OWN that building by the time this all shakes out