OTTAWA, April 30, 2004 ( – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL), which was one of the main opponents of homosexual hate crime Bill C-250, has warned of possible persecution due to the bill’s passage.  With the passage of Bill C-250, Canada has now embarked upon a course of criminalization of dissent, says the Catholic group.

CCRL President Tom Langan commented: “We do not hate persons who may have homosexual inclinations or who engage in such behaviour.  Likewise, we do not hate persons who engage in adulterous relationships, or other illicit sex outside of marriage.  But we will continue to reject such behaviour, whether on religious or other grounds.  Canada’s adoption of measures to allow potential criminalization or prosecution for such views is to its shame.”

CCRL suggests that numerous assurances the new criminal charges will only apply to the most obnoxious or severe critics of homosexual behaviour seem rather weak in light of efforts to limit the freedom of commentators around the world:

– Last fall, the Rt. Reverend Dr. Peter Forster, Anglican Bishop of Chester, England was investigated under hate crimes legislation and reprimanded by the local Chief Constable for observing that some people can overcome homosexual inclinations and “reorientate” themselves. (The Telegraph, 10/11/03)  – In January of this year a Swedish Pentecostal Pastor Ake Green was prosecuted for “hate speech against homosexuals” for a sermon he preached last summer citing Biblical references to homosexuality. (Kyrkans Tidning, 01/11/04)  – Belgian Cardianal Gustaaf Joos faces a lawsuit under that country’s discrimination laws for his remarks about the nature of homosexuality and the Church’s teaching published in a Belgium magazine. (, 01/26/04)  – Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid is facing a suit in Spain for preaching against homosexuality in a homily he gave in the Madrid Cathederal on the feast of the Holy Family. (Washington Post, 01/03/04)  – In Ireland, clergy and bishops were warned that the distribution of the Vatican’s publication on public recognition of same-sex relationships could face prosecution under Irish incitement to hatred legislation. (The Irish Times, 07/02/03)  Langan commented, “Are such expectations misguided? It remains to be seen.  We have seen comments from leading Canadian gay advocates such as Rev. Brent Hawkes of the Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto in which he suggested last year that Vatican statements or a Catholic bishop’s commentary on homosexuality are ‘expressions of hatred’.  We suspect Canadians will soon discover the extent of the new peril imposed on their freedom of speech only after they receive that knock on the door to answer to the authorities.”


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