People hold signs outside of a courthouse in Medicine Hat, Alta. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lauren Krugel

Court blocks bid for injunction to halt Alberta gay-straight alliance law

Judge dismisses request to put Alberta gay-straight alliance law on hold

A judge who says the benefits to LGBTQ youth outweigh any potential harm has denied a request to put Alberta’s gay-straight alliance law on hold.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, on behalf of more than two dozen faith-based schools, parents and public interest groups, had requested an injunction until a ruling is made on the law’s constitutionality.

The law bans schools from telling parents if their children join the peer groups meant to make LGBTQ kids feel welcome and to prevent bullying and abuse.

“The effect on LGBTQ+ students in granting an injunction, which would result in both the loss of supportive GSAs in their schools and send the message that their diverse identities are less worthy of protection, would be considerably more harmful than temporarily limiting a parent’s right to know and make decisions about their child’s involvement in a GSA,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Johnna Kubik said in her decision Wednesday.

The Justice Centre, which argued that keeping parents out of the loop violates their charter rights, had characterized the alliances as “ideological sexual clubs” that could expose young or otherwise vulnerable kids to explicit material. It also raised concerns that schools’ funding and accreditation could be jeopardized if they don’t comply.

The province and others have argued the law is meant to protect LGBTQ youth, who may be put in harm’s way if they are outed to unaccepting parents.

Both sides made their case before Kubik in a court in Medicine Hat, Alta., last week.

In her decision, Kubik said the applicants had to establish that there was a serious constitutional issue to be tried, that complying with the law would cause irreparable harm and that refusing their request would cause them more harm than granting it would cause to the other side.

Kubik said she was satisfied the competing charter rights of parents and children is a serious constitutional issue to be heard.

But she dismissed many of the Justice Centre’s arguments around irreparable harm, including that young and vulnerable children may be exposed to graphic material through the alliances.

“There is no evidence that any of these materials were ever promoted by the respondent or GSAs generally, or that the materials ever came into the hands of any students through a GSA,” Kubik wrote. ”There is no evidence that there is a risk of the material being disseminated to students in GSAs.”

She also said she could not determine the reliability of accounts cited by the Justice Centre of children becoming suicidal after being encouraged to dress and behave like the opposite sex at school.

“I find that the applicants have failed to prove a degree of irreparable harm, which outweighs the public good in maintaining the legislation.”

Related: Surrey’s first rainbow crosswalk defaced 10 days after installation

Related: BCTF files human rights complaint against B.C. school trustee over LGBTQ comments

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon preps for cannabis legalization

Vernon council tweaking zoning bylaws for non-medical cannabis uses, and cannabis cultivation

Vernon councillors needle IHA about programs

One Vernon councillor wants a buyback program; one wants IHA to assume more responsibility

Vernon Sharps team not in favour of needle exchange

City team looking to set up dedicated phone line among other recommendations

Shuswap homing pigeon in need of new abode

Carrier pigeon wearing outdated identification band takes up residence in Yankee Flats

Vernon businesses win Commercial Building Award

Vernon finalists for this year’s award BC Hydro and Vernon Trades Training both won awards Thursday.

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Premier John Horgan ponders debate on voting system changes

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wants one-on-one, no Green

Thieves rip ATM out of Sun Peaks Resort

Kamloops Rural RCMP are investigating after an ATM was stolen from the Day Lodge at Sun Peaks.

Saganash drops F-bomb in Commons over federal approach to Trans Mountain

NDP’s reconciliation critic accused federal government of ‘wilfully’ violating constitutional duties

Okanagan Fall Wine Festival tastier than ever

Festival celebrating 38 years

VIDEO: B.C. dairy farmer says Trump doesn’t understand the industry

‘They need supply management just as bad as we need to keep it’: sixth generation farmer Devan Toop

VIDEO: Death threat, racist comments spewed over empty seat on B.C. bus

Transit Police are investigating the incident, shared online by fellow passengers on Vancouver bus

Cops for Kids cycle through Vernon

Cops landed in Vernon Sept. 22, left Sept. 23

Most Read