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Saskatchewan readies to pass special protections for ‘transgender people’

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The Saskatchewan Party government is moving ahead with plans to amend the province’s human rights legislation to prohibit discrimination based on “gender identity,” even though the province’s Human Rights Commissioner says that “transgender people have always been protected by the code.”

Denise Hounjet-Roth, president of Campaign Life Coalition Saskatchewan, said the proposed legislation introduced in the Legislature last week is an example of “politically correct” ideology.

“If people who identify as ‘trans’ are already protected, why do they need extra protections? This is the question many people are asking,” she told LifeSiteNews. 

David Arnot, chief commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, said that while “transgender people have always been protected by the Code…adding gender identity shows consistency with other jurisdictions and reflects the evolving nature of our province.”

“The proposed Saskatchewan Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2014 will clarify that discrimination against transgender people is and has been against the law, as well as strengthen the rights of renters, regardless of sexual orientation,” the provincial government stated in a press release last week.

The Act erases an exemption allowing landlords to refuse homosexual renters if the location was attached to the landlord’s own home.

The fine for persons who have been found guilty of “willfully or recklessly” violating the Act has increased from $10,000 to $20,000 under the proposed update.

The chair of Moose Jaw Pride, Joe Wickenhauser, credited homosexual activist organizations TransSask Support Services and The Avenue Community Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity for influencing the government to move forward with the changes.

“This is what can happen when we get organized, stand together and unite our voices in a call for change,” he said.

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In a 2013 letter to the province’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General Gordon Wyant, trans-activist Laura Negraeff wrote that people who identify as “trans” needed special protection.

“If we want to protect the citizens of this province, especially children, from harassment and discrimination we need to make it easier to do the right thing,” she wrote.

Wyant responded at the time that the government would move forward with new legislation “if it becomes apparent that express recognition adds protections which are not available under the categories of ‘sex’ and ‘sexual orientation.’”

But people who identify as ‘trans’ have had no trouble in the past having the courts side with their complaints of “discrimination.”

In September 2013 the province’s Human Rights Commission ruled in favor of a biological man dressing and identifying as a woman who complained against a Saskatoon bridal shop for refusing to let him try on a wedding dress.

The Commission ruled that owner Jenny Correia violated Rohit Singh’s rights under Section 12 of Code "by denying a transgender woman service."

The Saskatchewan Party, led by Premier Brad Wall, holds 49 of the 58 seats in Saskatchewan’s legislature.

The act is expected to take effect spring 2015 if it passes.

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