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Bill Whatcott.David Cooke via YouTube

TORONTO (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-family Christian advocate charged with a “hate crime” for distributing anti-LGBT flyers at a Toronto homosexual pride parade has been found not guilty.

Bill Whatcott was charged under the “Wilful Promotion of Hatred” statute in the Canadian Criminal Code for distributing graphic anti-LGBT flyers at Toronto’s 2016 Gay Pride Parade, and if he had been convicted, faced up to two years in prison.

While not expressing sympathy for the views shared in Whatcott’s flyer, which is currently under a publication ban from the court and contained graphic images of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as Bible verses and statistics regarding homosexual behavior, Justice Robert Goldstein of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto ruled that there was a “reasonable doubt” that Whatcott’s flyer and his actions fit the legal definition for the “Wilful Promotion of Hatred.”

Before the trial, Whatcott had told LifeSiteNews that he was surprised he was even facing a criminal trial for his actions. “I don’t even think [my flyer] raises to the human rights code level [a significantly less serious offence than a criminal charge], which needs to be ‘vilification and calumny,’” he said.

“I don’t see that in the flyer, so I don’t see how it can rise to an indictable [criminal] offence. It’s baffling,” he added.

According to Goldstein, while Whatcott’s flyer condemning homosexual behavior as “sinful” and contrary to “natural law” is certainly “offensive” to many people, he never called for “violence” or other forms of illegal discriminatory actions to be taken against homosexuals, and therefore, his flyer constituted a “borderline” case and fell into a “gray area,” which is not sufficient for criminal conviction under the law.

In his decision, Goldstein provided historical examples of cases that did meet the definition of “wilful promotion of hatred” and outlined why Whatcott’s case did not.

In the examples, Goldstein touched upon cases where people had explicitly advocated for violence against “identifiable groups” such as Jews, Muslims, or homosexuals, and cases in which people had levied accusations against specific groups in a way that characterized them as “subhuman” or called for the “segregation” of those persons for the welfare of society at large.

While Whatcott’s flyer warned of the potential spiritual or health-related dangers an individual can incur as a result of homosexual behavior, the flyer never accused homosexuals of being less than human, or suggested that they ought to be treated as such.

Whatcott’s acquittal comes at a time when anti-LGBT advocacy is under-fire in Canadian politics. Just last week, the Canadian parliament unanimously passed a radical pro-LGBT bill that seeks to criminalize so-called “conversion therapy.”

Canadian pro-life and pro-family advocates have expressed opposition to the bill due to its broad definition of the term “conversion therapy,” suggesting it has the potential to have parents jailed for teaching their children the traditional views on homosexuality and transgenderism found in Christian doctrine.