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

Florencia beach clean near Tofino draws awesome crowd

Visitors from as far as Hawaii, Philippines, and Venezuela pitch in at Surfrider event.

West Coast leaders fear orca habitat protection could bring fishery closures

Ucluelet demands extension to DFO consultation process

Ukee set for second annual Gay Pride event

“It’s going to be a blast.”

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Ucluelet to reinstall rainbow crosswalks

Ucluelet council briefs from July 10 regular meeting.

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read