Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
August 27, 2001
Group defends printer accused of discrimination
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — A religious alliance that includes the Catholic Civil Rights League is going to bat for a Toronto printer who refused a printing job for a gay and lesbian organization.
The Canadian Religious Freedom Alliance (CRFA) filed its written arguments in Ontario Divisional Court Aug. 17 concluding that human rights legislation should accommodate conscientious or religious beliefs.
In 1996, Scott Brockie refused to provide printing services to The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives on the basis that the cause of homosexuality was offensive to his religious beliefs. Brockie is an evangelical Christian.
Ray Brillinger, an Archives official, filed a human rights complaint alleging Brockie discriminated against him on the basis of his sexual orientation. A board of inquiry agreed with Brillinger and fined the printer $5,000. Brockie appealed to the Ontario Divisional Court.
The CRFA, which also includes the Christian Legal Fellowship and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said it will argue the need for recognition of the right to freedom of religion and conscience in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed by the Charter of Rights "includes the freedom to refuse to provide services to a cause or activity to which an individual objects on bona fide conscientious or religious grounds," it said.
The religious alliance also stated that it supports "the right to freedom of conscience for business owners such that they not be required to provide services to causes with which they conscientiously object, particularly for religious reasons."
The group noted that the Ontario Human Rights Code protects individuals from discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation, but does not protect causes from such discrimination.
It argued, therefore, that the board of inquiry should have ruled that Brockie was within his rights to refuse to do work for a cause that offended his religious beliefs.
Brockie had previously done work for gay and lesbian clients, the alliance noted.
"It was not that Brillinger was gay that was the issue," it added. "Rather, it was the fact that the Archives is identified as promoting the gay and lesbian cause."
The case is scheduled to be heard Dec. 5.
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