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

‘Virtual drugstore’ dealer sentenced in Penticton

A Penticton woman was using the casino as a hub to sell drugs and launder money

Further mediated talks scheduled in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU schedule talks for July 20-22

Police and GSAR search river near Hedley

Princeton RCMP and ground search and rescue crews are at the Similkameen… Continue reading

Extreme fire danger in the Okanagan-Shuswap

The fire danger rating hits extreme or high in areas of the Okanagan- Shuswap

Heat warning issued for Central, South Okanagan

Environment Canada expects temperatures to exceed 35 degrees Celsius today

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Tailgate Party celebrates Naramata’s early roots

South Okanagan wineries located on the Naramata Bench host their annual party

Emerica tears up Penticton Youth Park

Pro skateboarders make summer afternoon even hotter

Hedge up in flames in Lake Country

A Lake Country resident burning weeds had flames spread to a nearby hedge

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

UPDATE: Wildfire near Lake Country grows to seven hectares

The BC Wildfire Service is responding to a blaze at Dee Lake

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

UPDATE: BC crews respond to two new wildfires

Blazes near Allison and Osoyoos Lakes

Motorcycle driver dies in a head-on collision near Oliver

RCMP said the three vehicle collision, near Road 18, happened around 2:45 p.m. on July 14

Most Read