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

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Are there windier days ahead?

Tales from the Bear

Man caught in fatal avalanche ID’ed as Alberta man in his 20s

Outdoor guides warn against high winds in the mountains Family Day weekend

Road conditions for Feb. 14

More compact snow and slippery sections

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read