OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Saskatchewan
Two same-sex fathers in Saskatchewan have won the right to amend their child’s birth certificate, removing the name of a surrogate mother.
The surrogate, identified only as Mary, carried the child to term using an embryo created from the sperm of one of the fathers and an ova from an anonymous donor. Despite being neither the child’s biological, nor adoptive mother, she was listed as the child’s mother by the hospital on the birth certificate. This was the case for two years, until a court ruled otherwise late last week.
In Canada, it’s standard practice for a child’s adoptive parents to be listed on their birth certificate. Listing the biological parents would be unusual, and until this case I had never actually heard of a non-adoptive, non-biological surrogate ever being listed as a parent. Still, I’ve already heard rumblings from enraged goofballs, calling this case political correctness run amok, a deterioration of the definition of children, etc. etc. Considering the long precedent of in vitro fertilization and listing adoptive parents as official parents on birth certificates, I find it very strange that this outrage only seems to emerge when the parents happen to be a same-sex couple.
Good thing these weirdos don’t matter. Congratulations to the two dads, and their daughter. Your official documents now reflect the nature of your family perfectly, and I wish you all the best!
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled on Monday that civil marriage commissioners—individuals licensed by the government to perform non-religious civil marriage ceremonies—cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples.
Saskatchewan’s government, under premier Brad Wall, had asked the court for advice on two proposed bills. One would have allowed marriage commissioners to deny public services to gay couples, and the other would have allowed only marriage commissioners licensed before the legalization of same-sex marriage to do so. Both proposals were ruled unconstitutional.
This decision was expected and right. Marriage commissioners are there to perform non-religious, legal ceremonies and are not representatives of their privately held religious beliefs. Allowing a public service employee to refuse their duties based on the sexual orientation of their clients would have been unprecedented, opening a can of writhing, slimy worms as to what other services can be denied to the public.
Not everyone is content with the court’s ruling, of course. Maurice Vellacott, a Conservative MP (who has been on this site before, imagine that), angrily blasted the court decision on Tuesday. “The Court has hereby belittled religious faith or any faith for that matter,” he announced, hereby, in a press interview. “It sets up a hierarchy of rights saying these same-sex rights are more important than freedom of consience and religion.”
Utter nonsense, of course. No one, not even gays, are allowed to deny public services to anyone legally entitled to those services. That right never existed, and this ruling hasn’t changed it. Religious freedom, also, still exists in Canada. Everyone is free to worship whichever religion they choose.
So, if you believe that a gaggle of motley-clad deities mandates that all moral humans must get their left nipple pierced by an 84-year-old former acrobat upon graduating high school and have it fastened with a pewter-cast triskaidecagon, then by all means, go for it. But that doesn’t mean you get to go around denying boating licenses to anyone who has their pewter-cast triskaidecagon through their right nipple instead of their left.
At least, I think so. Technically, that court decision is still pending.
Bill Whatcott, Canada’s most strangely obsessed anti-gay activist, will soon be the subject of quizzical contemplation by Canada’s highest court.
Whatcott was fined nearly a decade ago after distributing hateful, anti-gay fliers in Saskatchewan, but won an appeals court ruling in February on the grounds that distributing fliers is part of his freedom of expression.
The fliers really weren’t very nice. “Our children,” one pamphlet reads in part, “will pay the price in disease, death, abuse and ultimately eternal judgement if we do not say no to the sodmoite desire to socialize your children into accepting something that is clearly wrong.”
“Sodomites,” another read, “are 430 times more likely to acquire AIDS and three times more likely to sexually abuse children.”
It should go without saying that all the pamphlets were really, really, really wrong—factually and morally. So, unhappy with the appeals court ruling, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Comission asked the Supreme Court to visit the case, and they agreed.
Now, having the same level of legal understanding as… let’s say a massive, multinational corporation, I remain utterly clueless as to what the Supreme Court will find. Personally, I feel that freedom of expression is an important right, but I don’t think that necessarily means you can go around making all sorts of wacky, unfounded accusations that gay people are bringing about the children apocalypse. Sounds a lot like slandering an entire minority to me, and I hope that’s what Canada’s provisions against inciting hatred are meant to prohibit.
One thing’s pretty clear to me, though. This guy is gay-obsessed. I mean, I’m actually gay and I still don’t have as much gay-on-the-brain as this guy. Off the top of my head: In addition to crafting and distributing hysterically nutty pamphlets, Whatcott once lead Regina’s Gay Pride parade with anti-gay signage, picketted outside private Planned Parenthood clinics declaring the workers there to be “disseminators of AIDS,” and even ran for mayor of Edmonton with a completely anti-gay platform. “As your mayor,” his official platform opened, “Bill Whatcott is committed to protecting Edmontonians from homofascism.”
Right. Well, here’s hoping the Supreme Court will protect us from whatcottcrazyism!
A discriminatory bill that would allow civil marriage commissioners to refuse their public services to gay couples went before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal yesterday. The bill was, strangely enough, brought to court by the government that’s ultimately trying to introduce it in an attempt to predetermine its constitutionality.
I’m certainly no lawyer, but the fact that the provincial government even has to consult the courts shows what a constitutionally shaky bit of nonsense this is. I mean, I can’t imagine how allowing people to refuse public services based on personally held beliefs can mesh with Canada’s Charter of Rights. Civil marriage commissioners provide non-religious ceremonies for couples that do not wish to be married by a priest in a church. If these commissioners interpret their personal religious texts in a way that forbids them from serving a segment of the public in a professional capacity—and that’s a pretty big stretch, if you ask me—then they’ve chosen a career forbidden by their faith and had better choose another.
Personally, I have a feeling that we have nothing to worry about, but if my intuition is wrong and the court rules in favour of the bill, then I have a ton of questions. In addition to gays, could civil marriage commissioners refuse to marry an inter-faith couple? How about a couple who has a child out of wedlock? Does this incredible trump card apply to other careers? Could a vegetarian working at a provincial registry refuse to file paperwork for hunting licenses? What about a pharmacist who’s a Scientologist refusing to fill prescriptions for anti-depressants? Can a doctor who’s a Jehovah’s witness refuse to perform blood transfusions?
And if those questions are too hypothetical at this point, how about a thick-headed premier who’s an Annelidaterian forcing all Saskatonians to open a massive can of writhing, slimy earthworms?
I guess we’ll find out soon!
Bill Whatcott, Canada’s most hysterically obsessed anti-gay activist, does not have to pay $17,500 in fines after successfully challenging a Human Rights Tribunal ruling in Saskatchewan.
Whatcott was fined in 2005 over a “clear pattern or practice of disregard for protected rights,” sparked largely over some insane, anti-gay fliers.
The ruling was upheld by the Court of the Queen’s Bench in 2007, but the appeals court overturned the ruling, saying that the fliers didn’t violate Canada’s hate speech laws by inciting hatred and violence, and were therefore protected by freedom of expression.
Hey, I guess that means the Bill Whatcott flier collection fundraising effort for GLBT organisations is still on!
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal will consider and rule on whether or not civil marriage commissioners can deny their otherwise public services to gay couples. The case is in response to a request from the provincial government, which is seeking information on the constitutionality of a proposed legislation to allow just that sort of thing.
In addition to the usual suspects—unions, rights groups, and some individuals—several church organizations have sought intervener status so that they can speak on the case. Most will argue that presiding over a gay marriage violates the religious freedoms of the individuals doing the presiding.
Churches are already exempt from Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and therefore do not need to serve everyone equally regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation. That does not, however, apply to individuals. At least not yet—and that includes civil marriage commissioners, who are, after all, just people who perform the legal duties at non-religious wedding ceremonies for people who do not wish to get married by a priest in a church. They’re not, nor are they supposed to be, representatives of their personal religion.
Nevertheless, the Canadian Fellowship of Churches and Ministers, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the Chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and the Christian Legal Fellowship are all seeking to influence this public ruling. (I shall assume that they all pay taxes, then…)
Here’s my thoughts. Much in the same way that a vegetarian mustn’t deny a carnivore a boating license (lest the carnivore go fishing in violation of the vegetarian’s personal beliefs), a marriage commissioner cannot deny a marriage license to a gay couple; and that’s the way it should stay.
I mean, where did this idea come from that you can just avoid the duties that you’re expected to do? (cough, cough)
Orville Nichols, a Saskatchewan civil marriage commissioner, has lost his anti-gay appeal of an earlier ruling by the provincial Human Rights Commission. Nichols was fined $2,500 in 2007 for refusing to perform his public services for a gay couple. He then fought the ruling in court, arguing that his private religious beliefs entitle him to discriminate and refuse public, non-religious services to gay people. A non-religious violation, if you will.
Civil marriage commissioners are licensed by the government to conduct marriage ceremonies for couples that do not wish to have a religious wedding. Since the ceremonies are secular and commissioners aren’t representatives of their private religious beliefs, they are subject to the same anti-discrimination laws as everyone else.
So, consequently, he lost his appeal… Not that he had much of it to begin with. Snap!
The conservative Saskatchewan Party has decided to introduce legislation that will allow government-licensed civil marriage commissioners to deny their services to same-sex couples in the province.
Civil marriage commissioners perform public, non-religious marriage ceremonies for couples who do not wish to have a denominational wedding. They are also certified to issue marriage licenses themselves.
The legislation is coming as a response to a couple of marriage commissioners who refused to offer their public services to gay couples, claiming that issuing a same-sex civil marriage would violate their religious beliefs. Considering they’re not performing ceremonies on behalf of their personal religion, that may be a wee bit of a stretch.
But, hey, if this legislation takes effect, I can also refuse to serve anti-gay people, right?
Orville Nichols, a civil marriage commissioner from Saskatchewan, is suing the provincial government over a requirement to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Nichols was fined $2,500 last May for refusing to perform a marriage for a couple because they were gay. Nichols now says that the province is violating his religious beliefs and that he should be allowed to deny his services to whomever he pleases, adding that the province’s requirement to serve everyone equally is an icy, icy, all ’round super treacherous slope. His lawer, Philip Fourle, explains:
What is next? Will the government be invading churches with their laws and forcing pastors and ministers and priests in churches to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?
Ah, yes. Ever since I was a wee lad, I always imagined my special wedding day being held in a church that thinks I’m a horrible, horrible sinner—priest nervously presiding over us at gunpoint… government agents standing cross-armed by the newly kicked-in cathedral door. But that’s not terrifically likely.
See, religious institutions are exempt from Canada’s Charter of Rights, and may deny services to whomever they wish. Many religions refuse to wed inter-faith couples unless one converts, and are well within their legal rights to do so. Likewise, churches are not required to marry same-sex couples.
But here’s the thing: A civil marriage commissioner is acting on behalf of the state. Nichols is not an ambassador of his religion and he may not deny his public service to anyone based on their religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation.
So, basically, if this case succeeds, that means I also get to deny my services to whomever I want. So watch out, Bluetooth headset users! Your day is coming.
- Saskatchewan government sued over same-sex marriage rites [National Post]
- Marriage official sues Sask. government over same-sex unions [Edmonton Journal]
Orville Nichols, a civil marriage commissioner from Saskatchewan, is going to appeal a $2,500 fine he received for refusing to do his job for a gay couple. Nichols claims that performing a non-religious, civil marriage for the gay couple violated his religious beliefs.
Marilou McPhedran, the Chief Commissioner of Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Commission explained the case matter-of-factly:
To allow public officials to insert their personal morality when determining who should and who should not receive the benefit of law undermines human rights in Saskatchewan beyond the issue of same-sex marriages.
Succinctly and correctly put.
Nichols’ services are on behalf of the government, not his church. Religious officials acting within their own church are free to decide to whom they provide services (many churches refuse to marry inter-faith couples, for example), but it is not correct to claim this freedom applies to followers performing their public duties. Frankly, I think it’s a stretch to claim that one’s religious beliefs forbid anyone from interacting with same-sex couples at their job in the first place.
Tom Lukiwski, a Conservative MP from Saskatchewan, has apologized for homophobic slurs that he made on an unoffical 1991 campaign tape:
The only explanation I can give is that I was stupid, thoughtless and insensitive.
The comments I made should not be tolerated in any society. They should not be tolerated today, they should not have been tolerated in 1991, they should not have been tolerated the years previous to that.
The videotape, which was made during a Saskatchewan election campaign, showed a younger Lukiswki boasting about how he stands out as a nominee:
Let me put it to you this way: There’s As and there’s Bs. The As are guys like me; the Bs are homosexual faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit disease.
While reaction to the initial comments has been near-universal condemnation, the apology’s reaction has been varied. Liberal MP, Scott Brison, is calling for Lukiswki to be fired, and NDP MP, Bill Siksay, says he thought the apology was sincere. (Both MPs are gay themselves.)
Personally, I think the comments were pretty awful, and their age is irrelevant. Lukiwski was a 40 year old man at the time, and an aspiring politician to boot. It was the right thing to do to apologize, and I think calling for his resignation is a little reactionary, but we really ought to be on the lookout for these attitudes in our policy makers.
It comes as no surprise that Lukiwski voted against civil marriage for same-sex couples each time it has come before parliament. It would be irresponsible, rather than just ignorant, to have voted that way based on the sort of homophobia that Lukiwski displayed. Actions speak louder than words; I think he really ought to do more than just apologise and show that he no longer believes what he said.
There was a story back in September about a grade 9 kid who was bullied and called homophobic names for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school.
The next day, two of his classmates campaigned online and arrived with dozens of pink shirts, turning the school into a “sea of pink.”
Heartwarmingly enough, the campaign seems to have spread! Hundreds of students at Balfour Collegiate in Regina Saskatchewan donned their pinkest garments this week in protest of homophobia and bullying. Micheil Rothwell, a grade 10 student, said the event was sorely needed:
This is really important today because everywhere people think it is OK to make homophobic remarks. They think it is OK to say, “That’s gay.” But we are here today saying that it is not OK. We are not going to tolerate it anymore.
It’s only been 10 years since I graduated from high school, and I’m impressed by how much attitudes have changed. Mind you, I went through the Catholic system, which is a tad behind the times; there, books are still considered dangerous.
- Regina school goes pretty in pink [The StarPhoenix]
It’s Friday; let’s go for some fun news today!
The creators of Corner Gas are in talks to televise a series of novels about a gay detective in Saskatoon. The show, tentatively titled Quant, is based on the popular Russell Quant mystery novels, written by Canadian author Anthony Bidulka. Bidulka is understandably ecstatic:
I’m thrilled that CTV saw enough merit in the books and idea behind the Russell Quant character to take us to this new level. I have no idea whether or not this will amount to a whole hill of beans but I have fingers crossed and am enjoying the journey.
Strangely, Breakthrough Films does not mention anything about the main character’s homosexuality in their online press release, but Bidulka doesn’t appear concerned that the producers will turn his detective straight. The character’s gayness is an important theme in the novels. “That’s the selling feature,” Bidulka noted.
Good luck to all involved in the project!
Until Monday, kids!
- Gay Saskatoon gumshoe may hit small screen [The StarPhoenix]
Reverend Shawn Sanford Beck, a priest in Saskatoon, has resigned his position after refusing to renounce same-sex marriage. Beck, who had his license stripped in January, was given a temporary license and an ultimatum by Bishop Rodney Andrews back in March: Either stop supporting equal rights for gays, or get lost.
Well, it looks like Beck has bravely chosen the latter. (Though he made his intention clear quite some time ago.) In an open letter, he called the church’s position on same-sex marriage “theologically problematic and fundamentally unjust.”
And, with that, I’m officially out of ideas on how to illustrate priests being kicked out by their churches. If you’ve got an idea for the next one, send your suggestions to:Priest Ejections
c/o Slap Upside The Head
123 Gay Street
Montréal, QC G4Y 8O1
- Saskatoon priest resigns over same-sex issue [Anglican Journal]
Remember Bill Whatcott? His hysterical anti-gay stance has won him repeated human rights violations and a job suspension, but that doesn’t seem to stop him from distributing hate literature. Now a local activist group might have him re-thinking his strategy.
Amber Fletcher from the Campus Feminist Action Network in Regina, Saskatchewan wrote in to announce a delightfully clever pledge drive:
We would like to collect pledges for each leaflet Whatcott distributes from now on, and donate that money to local GLBT groups.
If he continues, the GLBT centres will benefit, and we will have succeeded.
Outstanding! If you’d like to make a pledge and help out some worthy organisations, check out the CFAC website for upcoming details.
Anyone got a golf score clicker I can use?
An Anglican priest in Saskatoon will have his minister’s license stripped for not refusing to perform same-sex marriages. Reverend Shawn Sanford Beck said he’d rather be dismissed than go against his conscience:
[Denying same-sex marriages] goes against everything else I’m about in my ministry and everything else that the church stands for. I’m trying to send a very strong message to the gay and lesbian community, and to other communities that have been alienated from the church, that we don’t all think the same and there are people willing to go to the wall.
While I commend Reverend Beck for his stand, his ejection doesn’t surprise me considering the Anglican Church is willing to shut down entire congregations and punish retired Archbishops over their pro-gay stance. Of course, the Catholic church is also quite happy to fire priests, deny communion to elderly volunteers and rescind charity money over gay speakers.
This judgment is apparently called the “What Would Jesus Do?” approach.
Incidentally, in addition to losing his minister’s license, Reverend Beck will no longer be able to continue working for a Lutheran inner-city project. Yep, that’ll teach him to treat gay people as ordinary human beings!
- Sask. priest cut from church for performing gay marriages [Star Phoenix]
- Priest fired over same-sex marriage [Montréal Gazette]
Bill Whatcott, a nutty Saskatchewan nurse, lost an appeal to have his nursing license un-suspended this week for defaming the health association Planned Parenthood. Whatcott was picketing Planned Parenthood’s Regina office in 2003, harassing their patients, shouting derogatory slogans, and calling the workers there “sodomites,” “murderers,” and “disseminators of AIDS.” Charming lad, no?
Of course, this suspension isn’t anything new to Billy, as he’s been fined multiple times in the past for inciting hatred toward gays, including $17,000 just last year for mailing out flyers jam-packed with his own brand of magical fantasy facts like: “sodomites are 430 times more likely to acquire AIDS and three times more likely to sexually abuse children.”
Now, there’s no word on how Billy did on his bedside manner courses back in college, but I’m guessing it might have been in the… oh, D, maybe D- area.
Shocking news! A recent poll of Canadians has discovered that Saskatchewan, the smallest little prairie province in the west, is the most gay unfriendly place in Canada. This conclusion was reached after only 40% of
rednecks agreed with the statement “To me, homosexuality is morally acceptable.” This is in stark contrast to Quebec, the most fabulously gay friendly place ever, where nearly 70% of respondents agreed.
Hmm… Perhaps this means I should find a new place to erect my 90 metre rainbow grain elevator.
- Polls finds most Sask. residents intolerant of homosexuality [The Star Phoenix]