Sports anchor fired over pro-marriage tweet to put Rogers on the hot seat in May
TORONTO, Ontario, February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Should Canada’s Christians have the right to defend their beliefs without losing their job?
Damian Goddard plans to put this question front-and-centre in May as he heads to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Goddard was fired as the host of Connected on Rogers Sportsnet in May 2011 after he defended the long-standing definition of marriage through his Twitter account.
He told LifeSiteNews on Monday that while he misses the job, he stands by the tweet now as much as ever. “I tremendously miss being a broadcaster. But I will never regret tweeting the words ‘I completely and wholeheartedly support the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.’ Never,” he said.
A devout Catholic and father of two, Goddard says he hopes his case will help spark a renewed battle against same-sex “marriage” in Canada after the unions were legalized in 2005.
Though Canada’s majority Conservative government opposed same-sex “marriage” while they were in Opposition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has since pledged to keep the issue out of Parliament and has even supported the status quo.
Goddard says he has no idea what to expect at the Commission, but says that he’s been inspired to push on by the ongoing battle in the U.S. over President Obama’s attempt to force religious institutions to cover contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, and the battle in Ontario to keep gay-straight alliances out of Catholic schools.
“The recent surge of profound Catholic bravery south of the border regarding the HHS scandal, and north of the border in relation to the harmful, most ‘unlucky’ Bill 13 has really buoyed my spirits!” he said. “There is a change in the air. It’s palpable. It’s building. It’s so inspiring!”
Rogers has said Goddard’s firing was unrelated to his pro-marriage tweet, claiming that for “weeks” leading up to his termination, “it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization.” Spokesman Dave Rashford said last May that Goddard is “aware of the reasons [for his termination] – which are well documented.”
But Goddard points out that he was fired within 24 hours of the tweet. After Goddard sent his twee,t Rogers immediately distanced themselves from it, then called him in for a meeting within hours, which he could not attend because of family duties. Goddard says he was given a “ringing endorsement” by the network only a week before his dismissal.
He launched the human rights complaint against Rogers in June, contending that the case affects all Canadians with deeply-held religious views. The two parties have agreed to mediation and the hearing is set for May 4th at 902-110 Yonge Street in Toronto from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“I have a feeling some not-so-nice things are going to come out of these proceedings,” Goddard said Monday. “For now, I’ll let people speculate. But know this - I will be an open book when everything comes out in the open.”
Goddard’s controversial tweet was made in defense of NHL hockey agent Todd Reynolds, who had created a stir when he criticized then-New York Rangers hockey player Sean Avery for shooting a TV ad backing gay “marriage.”
In the fall, Goddard became a spokesman for the U.S.-based Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, a project by the National Organization for Marriage that was founded by Maggie Gallagher to support pro-family citizens who face threats for expressing their views.
Goddard said Gallagher has been a “God-send.” “We are doing amazing things in changing the culture. There are so many stories like mine. Worse stories. But we must continue the fight,” he urged.
“I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to guide me not only up to the May 4th hearing, but throughout my entire life as I focus on being the best father, husband… the best child of God, that I can be,” he said.
LifeSiteNews did not hear back from Rogers Sportsnet by press time.