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Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruling upsets gay community

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruling in favour of Trinity Western University has the unfortunate result of human rights being ignored once more.

TWU requires students and staff sign a covenant agreement to not engage in same-sex sexual activities.

Various provincial courts are in the midst of determining what is fair.

This is a sad day for our province as this decision has far-reaching consequences for the gay community.

The court ruled that the NS Barristers’ Society does not have the right to refuse graduates from TWU’s law school.

I see this as a potential for discrimination by these future students. If they agree to sign such a document, then it seems they are in agreement with such views.

If not, then I assume they would not enter a school where such discrimination against gays is so prominent. To state that a graduate from TWU would not necessarily refuse to take on a gay client is totally unreasonable as he/she has already indicated and signed a document that clearly discriminates and is decidedly homophobic.

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Act states that it is prohibited to discriminate against an individual or class of individuals on account of sexual orientation.

It is clear that Nova Scotia’s highest court does not take this act into consideration.

In a country where we pride ourselves as a front-runner on human rights, we would expect a country where we practice respect and let people live with dignity and in peace.

We must accept our differences and rather than exclude, embrace diversity.

A decidedly disappointing turn affects our total well-being.

Do we enjoy equal rights and equal treatment for all? I think not, as the ruling is clearly in conflict with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.

Gays have been persecuted through the centuries, and even as we have protection under the law, it seems we must continue the journey in order to be recognized by our courts.

The ruling in this province is a huge step backward for equality as it promotes further intolerance and is in contrast with Canadian values.

The fight for equality continues, and since religious freedom trumps human rights, the future remains uncertain.

Perhaps the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society will take this a step further and keep up the fight against discrimination.


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Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. His column runs weekly in The News.

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