2008-MAY-14 (approximately): Christian Horizons decided to
appeal part of the Ontario Human Rights Commission's recent
ruling. According to the Voice of the Martyrs:
"Christian Horizons stated that it will no longer require employees
to sign the code but plans to appeal the remainder of the tribunal's
order. Opposition political parties have called on the province to
consider pulling funding from the group, claiming that it is unjustly
imposing its beliefs on its employees." 1
2008-DEC-22: The Canadian Council of
Christian Charities (CCCC) was granted Intervener Status in support of the
Christian Horizons appeal. In Section 37, 42, and 47 of their Factum, they state that:
"The Tribunal?s error in this case was to
ignore the Charter rights of Christian Horizons and its employees when
analyzing and interpreting s.5, s.24(1)(a) and s.41(1)(a)
of the Ontario Human Rights Code."
"The effect of the Tribunal?s decision in this
case was to completely deny Christian Horizons and its employees their
constitutional right to practice their religion by providing charitable
services to the disadvantaged members of the public and their families."
"The legislation has the effect of presenting
a religious charitable organization like Christian Horizons with a choice:
restrict their charitable activities to their co-religionists in order to
obtain the benefit or abandon their religious beliefs." 2
The "benefit" referred to above refers to
the freedom of the organization to continue to be
homophobic3 by discriminating in employment against
sexually active persons with a homosexual orientation. The "religious beliefs"
that they would have to abandon is their homophobia3 -- that is, their rejection of equal employment rights for
persons of all sexual orientations. They would not be required to abandon the
beliefs that homosexual activity is "unnatural," "immoral," or "contrary to
the scriptures," as expressed in their now discontinued Lifestyle and
Morality statement. 4
Other interveners in support of Christian
Horizons are also conservative Christian:
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC).
Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (OCCB).
In support of Connie Heintz and the Human
Rights Commission is
EGALE Canada, who describe their group
as "Canada?s LGBT human rights organization: advancing equality, diversity,
education and justice." 4
The appeal may be held as early as 2009-APR.
This case may well be appealed all the way to the
Supreme Court of Canada. It may well be a very important case in determining the
extent to which religious groups can discriminate in employment against
individuals that they consider immoral, but that much of the rest of society
accepts as simply having a minority sexual orientation.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Canadian Christian Organization Appealing Human Rights Ruling," The
Voice of the Martyrs, 2008-MAY-14, at:
http://www.persecution.net/ This is believed to be a temporary listing.