OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Lodging discrimination
Rental Diva, an unlicensed rental agency in Brampton Ontario, is likely to face a human rights tribunal after turning away clients because they’re gay.
Thiago Derucio and Christ Prentice called Juliet Stewart—operator of Rental Diva—about a basement suite, but were promptly told they could not rent the property because the landlord had indicated that they did not wish to accommodate gays. (What, she has a database field for that sort of thing?)
This seems pretty open-and-shut to me. Not only is Rental Diva violating Ontario’s human rights code (with a rather lengthy chain of precedent against her favour), but she’s operating without a license. That’s pretty serious, and I can’t imagine this business will be around much longer.
Still, there are unanswered questions. For example, how is it possible that an agency called “Rental Diva” isn’t set up specifically to cater to gay apartment hunters? That would be like me setting up a business called “Christian Biblical Lodgings for Jesus” and then refusing to accommodate anyone wearing a crucifix.
I swear, these cases are getting weirder and weirder by the day.
William Goertzen, a landlord from Yellowknife who refused occupancy to a gay couple because he felt homosexuality was “unnatural,” has been fined for his actions.
Goertzen had already signed a one-year lease with Scott Robertson and Richard Anthony, but refused to honor the legal agreement when he found out they were a gay couple. He then kept their $1,125 security deposit and wouldn’t pay it back until he was ordered to by the rental court.
The couple finally took Goertzen to the Human Rights Tribunal, where he argued that his personal religious beliefs exempted him from recognising the couple’s legal rights. Homosexuality, Goertzen claimed, was “unnatural and against nature,” adding that his religion “warned against being associated with such wickedness.” (His religion had no strong opinions against forcing people onto the street and stealing $1,125 in damage deposits, of course.)
Luckily for everyone, religious freedom doesn’t mean you get to ignore your legal responsibilities. Goertzen was fined $13,400 in injury and punitive damages.
- Gay couple awarded $13.4K for rental refusal [CBC News]
Will Goertzen, a landlord in Yellowknife, signed a one-year apartment lease for a young gay couple last year. Three weeks before the couple was set to move in, Goertzen discovered they were gay. He re-listed the property without notifying the couple, rented it to a different family, stole the couple’s $1,150 damage deposit, and left them for homeless.
Scott Robertson and Richard Anthony had to stay with various friends and keep all of their belongings scattered about different locations until they secured a new apartment. They got their damage deposit back only after taking Goertzen to rental court. Now the case is before the Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission.
Astonishingly, Goertzen is outright admitting that he denied housing, stole the damage deposit, and left the couple homeless because they were gay, saying that he recognizes the “supremacy of God over the Charter or Rights and Freedoms.” “[Homosexuality] isn’t natural and it’s a crime against nature,” Goertzen told an adjudicator at a human rights commission last week, “I can definitely not have a part in it.”
Religious freedoms exist in Canada, but all that means is that the government cannot dictate which deity or deities you are allowed to worship; it does not—and has never—granted the power to circumvent Canada’s laws or our Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Both of which, indeed, explicitly forbid housing discrimination based on sexual orientation).
I’m not surprised some people are under a different impression, mind you. Saskatchewan has proposed a law that lets civil marriage commissioners refuse their public services for gay couples, and Alberta has just enacted a law that forces teachers to halt any discussions of sexual orientation until they receive parental permission from each parent, lest it offend their personal religious beliefs. Religious freedom is fast becoming a convenient carte blanche; a way to eschew personal responsibility, ignore or erase the rights of gay people, and nullify Canada’s guarantees of equality. Goertzen’s despicable behaviour is just a natural extension of this.
It’s time for mainstream religious people who realize that what Goertzen has done is wrong both in the legal and moral sense to stand up and say this is not acceptable.
Or, if this whole thing turns out differently, I could just start a religion of my own…
- Yellowknife landlord says he tore up gay couple’s lease over fear of God [Winnipeg Free Press]
- Gay couple left in cold by landlord [CBC News]
Les and Susan Molnar, owners of a small bed and breakfast in British Columbia, have refused lodging to a young couple for no reason other than that they are gay.
The Molnars, both of whom identify as evangelical Christians, claim that their personal religious beliefs forbid them from extending any hospitality to gays. Shaun Eadie and Brian Thomas, who say that they have been unjustly denied service from a public business, have filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
Turning away those different from you… Well, that’s an interesting interpretation of what Jesus was all about. I’ll watch for how this one turns out!