Canadian Secular Alliance joins interventions in White Rock Pride human rights case

The BC Humanists are congratulating the Canadian Secular Alliance on their successful application to intervene in a BC Human Rights Tribunal case that pits the White Rock Pride Society against the Star of the Sea Parish.

The Society had sought to rent the parish's community centre for a fundraiser. The Parish, which is part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, rejected the booking arguing that the event would be contrary to the church's beliefs. The Society alleges this was a matter of discrimination against their members' sexual orientation.

The BCHA was granted leave to intervene in February. In September, the tribunal granted three religious groups - the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Christian Legal Fellowship, who had applied together - leave to intervene.

The BCHA is limited to making arguments around "the issue of the parameters of freedom of religion when offering services to the public in the context of the [Human Rights] Code."

The Canadian Secular Alliance will be able to make arguments that the bona fide reasonable justification test should be neutrally applied. In other words, religious groups shouldn't be able to use the defence as a specific shield to claims of discrimination.

The hearing is expected in January. All interveners will be able to provide a ten page written submission after the hearing concludes.

According to CBC News, "a quick review of the caselaw over the last five years reveals that only five other complaints have moved forward with intervenors approved and none of them had five or more intervenors."

Follow all the BCHA's current and past legal cases and interventions.

Our interventions are supported by generous pro-bono counsel and funded by donations from our members and individuals.

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