Knights of Columbus Challenged by Canadian Lesbians for Refusing to Rent Hall for “Wedding” Receptio
VANCOUVER, January 26, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - When the Supreme Court of Canada declined to rule against changing the definition of marriage, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops praised and thanked the Court for not forcing them to officiate at gay nuptials.
Other groups, however, were not so optimistic about the Supreme Court’s generosity in declining to engage directly in the persecution of Christians. Campaign Life Coalition called the ruling a ‘disaster.’ Mary Ellen Douglas, National Organizer for CLC said, “One wonders when even these (religious) freedoms will be compromised by judicial activism.”
Canadian Catholics did not have to wait long for the test case. The CBC reported Tuesday that two lesbians are in the process of an action against the Catholic men’s organization, the Knights of Columbus, for refusing to rent them a hall for their same-sex ‘wedding’ reception.
In 2003, Deborah Chymyshyn and Tracey Smith rented a Knights of Columbus hall in Port Coquitlam. When the Knights became aware that it was to be for a homosexual couple, they cancelled the booking. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal began hearing their case on Monday and a ruling is expected tomorrow.
Despite the fulsome praise from some Canadian bishops, it is notable that the Supreme Court offered no protection for non-clerical objectors. Thus, Christian groups such as the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women’s League, not being priests who are asked to officiate, are just as vulnerable as always to gay activist attacks in the courts and Human Rights Tribunals.
Thus far, Canada’s judicial courts and extra-judicial Human Rights Tribunals have maintained a near-perfect record of finding against Christians’ right to freedom of religion over gay activist demands.
In an unusually strong editorial today, the National Post warned that a victory by the lesbian couple “would set the province - and indeed, the entire country - down a very dangerous path.” The editorial noted that “Those who seek to humble traditional religion in this country in the name of radical identity politics know just what they are doing.” That “doing,” explained the Post, is to deny religious organizations the freedom to discriminate and choose what they believe to be moral or immoral. The editorial concluded, “for that right to be taken away even before gay marriage has been enshrined in federal law would be an immensely dark omen.”
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