White Rock BIA president Ernie Klassen, and longtime residents Ruth Allard and Louise McKnight stand at the Five Corners crosswalks that are to be repainted in rainbow colours, thanks to their appeal to council last year. (File photo)

B.C. Pride group ‘discriminated’ against by Catholic church, president says

Church denied society’s request to host Pride event

The president of the White Rock Pride Society says his organization feels discriminated against because the Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Parish will not rent its community centre to the society for an upcoming Pride event.

Ernie Klassen told Peace Arch News Monday that he was initially told by Star of the Sea that the community centre was available for the date the society wanted, and he put in an application.

However, the Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Klassen said, turned down the application.

“They are not in favour of gay marriage and they believe that it’s a chosen lifestyle and they are opposed to anything to do with the gay community. It’s against their beliefs,” Klassen said.

When contacted for comment Monday, the Star of the Sea requested that PAN contact a spokesperson at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver.

“We’ve just decided against responding publicly to the White Rock Pride Society’s complaint,” Archdiocese of Vancouver director of strategic communications Paul Schratz wrote to PAN Monday.

However, Archbishop delegate James Borkowski emailed a statement to PAN Wednesday.

“The parish reviews all applications for events to ensure that the proposed use of the parish center would not be contrary to the teachings on faith and morals of the Catholic Church. We regret that this will inevitably disappoint some people and we strive to give answers in as timely a fashion as possible,” the statement read.

Klassen said that when the Pride Society asked to speak further about the issue with the Catholic church, they were told to speak to the church’s lawyer.

SEE ALSO: Rainbow flag flies in White Rock

The White Rock Pride Society hosted a dinner and dance fundraiser for PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) at Elk’s Hall last year. The venue has a capacity of 120 people.

Klassen said that he expects the society could double the attendance with a bigger venue, which is why they contacted Star of the Sea.

“I guess our biggest issue is that they call it the Star of the Sea Community Centre and they rent it out to the public. There’s something there almost every week that has nothing to do with the church.

“If you want to call yourself a community centre, and get the property tax relief from the city, then I’m now, as a White Rock citizen, subsidizing their taxes and I’m not allowed to use their facility,” Klassen said.

“There’s the dilemma. If you want to hold it strictly for the catholic church purposes, then promote it as such.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Former White Rock mayor Wayne Baldwin cuts a rainbow-coloured ribbon at the official unveiling of White Rock’s rainbow crosswalk in the Five Corners neighbourhood last year. (Bob Bezubiak/File photo)

Just Posted

Water restrictions in place for Armstrong

City of Armstrong switches water source to wells, still safe to use

Youth recreation programs making a comeback in Enderby

Enderby and District Recreation Services is offering three youth programs for the month of June

Burned out car be gone thanks to Vernon dealership, ski resort

Bannister GM Vernon and SilverStar Mountain Resort team up in road cleanup

Vernon high school football stars ready for the next level

Four members of the VSS Panthers will be entering the University of Calgary football program

Vernon chamber pushes province for child care support in next budget

The chamber addressed the B.C. Select Standing Committee working on 2021 budget proposal

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Police seek help identifying person of interest in Salmon Arm arson investigation

A fire in a garage was extinguished but it is being treated as an arson.

Penticton Search and Rescue respond to six calls in less than a week

Two hikers rescued in early morning search near Greyback Lake latest in series of searches

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

In photos: Modified, yet traditional graduation gives Penticton graduates a sense of normalcy

Students around Penticton take part in pre-recorded graduation ceremonies

Filming to resume safely later in June: Okanagan Film Commission

Film commissioner Jon Summerland said they want to start filming again later in June

Kelowna RCMP investigate woman’s sudden death

Criminality is not suspected at this time, according to RCMP

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read