REFOCUS BY GERARD VELDHOVEN
The government of British Columbia has a huge problem on its hands. A gay couple cannot be foster parents to a child because of their sexual orientation. This is pure discrimination and must be dealt with by the Human Rights Commission in that province.
How could this possibly have passed by the authorities? On many occasions I have mentioned that we are all equal under the law of this land, but loopholes remain. This is one of those instances when it comes to the forefront, as the laws fail to give this queer couple the opportunity to give a child a loving home.
Ironically, this same couple is able to adopt children and so we see a lack of consistency in the rules and regulations. Those who make our laws and enforce them have not done their homework and therefore have made a mess of things.
Discrimination continues to rear its ugly head and the courts must overturn this outdated policy. Some ask if it’s really necessary to have a newspaper column that constantly calls for equality. The reason is that even as we SEEM equal under Canada’s laws we really have much to be concerned about, as this particular case aptly demonstrates. We must be constantly aware of the issues that seem to arise on a daily basis. Oh how wonderful a world this would be where we all live in peace, with dignity and equality.
The journey is long and arduous and extremely emotionally draining and profound. I am tired after 40 years of letter writing, contacting politicians on the municipal, provincial and federal levels and speaking out as much as I am able. Education is the key and must be expanded to include sexual orientation and place emphasis on diversity. I have dedicated my life to this cause as have thousands of others.
We cannot be complacent and must carry on. We live in a nation that is one of the few places in this world where LGBTQ rights are being largely respected, but for the transgender citizens of this country the Senate has not yet passed legislation to fully protect this marginalized section of the population. Most provinces have passed such laws, but again with loopholes. The B.C. incident is one of those loopholes that must be rectified immediately. Give a child in need of a loving home their right to some happiness, as also is the right of a loving couple to fulfil that child’s need, regardless of sexual orientation. Comments and information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.