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

Names hatched for quail sculptures

The Keremeos quails have names.

Appreciation dinner for Keremeos firefighters in the works

Dinner and fundraiser for the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department to be held Nov. 17 at Victory Hall

Dog control ramping up on Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO taking extra precautions to ensure dogs remain on leash

Phone scam uses false RCMP ID on call display

North Okanagan RCMP say there are applications that allow people to change, hide call display info

Pawsitive response by the community for 60-plus surrendered cats

Community comes together to help surrendered cats at Penticton SPCA

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

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Most Read