By John-Henry Westen
TORONTO, April 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In what is being described as "another blow to religious liberty" in Canada, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ordered a Christian organization to cease using an employment contract which has staff promise they will not engage in "homosexual relationships." Moreover, the ruling demands that the organization pay $23,000, plus two years wages and benefits to a woman who signed onto the contract and then entered a homosexual relationship and was subsequently dismissed.
In an April 15 ruling, released today, the Tribunal ruled against Christian Horizons, an Evangelical Christian Ministry that provides care and residential services to 1,400 developmentally disabled individuals with over 180 residential homes across Ontario, and 2,500 employees.
The ruling which was decided by a single adjudicator - Michael Gottheil - ruled further that all managers and employees receive a pro-homosexuality "human rights training program". Christian Horizons was also ordered to "develop and adopt an anti-discrimination and an anti-harassment policy" and "review of its employment policies, in consultation with the Commission" and report to the Commission on its progress, to ensure that such policies comply with the Code.
The ruling also stated, "No later than six months from the date of this decision, the respondent, Christian Horizons shall submit a report to the Tribunal outlining the steps it proposes to take to ensure that its employment policies are in compliance with the Code".
Connie Heintz, an employee who signed onto the "morality statement" as a condition of employment, promised not to engage in "homosexual relationships", among other anti-Christian activities such as "extra-marital sexual relationships (adultery)", "pre-marital sexual relationships (fornication)", "viewing or reading pornographic material" and "lying".
When Heintz entered into a homosexual relationship and her employers came to know of it, she claims she was subject to a poisoned work environment and threatened with loss of her job. She quit her job in 2000.
Christian Horizons is the largest provider of community living services in the province, funded approximately $75 million annually by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Commenting on the decision, Barbara Hall, the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission opined, "This decision is important because it sets out that when faith-based and other organizations move beyond serving the interests of their particular community to serving the general public, the rights of others, including employees, must be respected."
The website of the Evangelical group Equipping Christians for the Public Square, which is run by Pastor Tristan Emmanuel, commented that the ruling marked, "another blow to religious liberty."
The ruling is available online here:
To contact the Premier of Ontario about repeated Human Rights rulings violating freedom of religion and conscience:
Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
To contact individual Members of the Legislature: