Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 21, 2005
Teacher defends legal fight
B.C. instructor tells UN no homosexual has ever complained about his writing
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Chris Kempling is fighting back. The Quesnel, B.C., high school teacher, disciplined for writing letters to the editor of his local newspaper opposing homosexual behaviour, has filed a human rights complaint against his school district for religious discrimination.
His appeal of an earlier court ruling goes to the B.C. Court of Appeals April 21-22. And on March 4, he told the United Nations about his religious persecution in Canada.
Kempling speaks out
In six letters to the editor and a freelance column written between 1997 and 2000, Kempling provided facts taken from scholarly journals about promiscuity rates and disease infection among homosexuals.
The B.C. College of Teachers took him to task and, in 2002, found him "guilty of conduct unbecoming of a member." He was suspended from teaching for one month, a decision upheld by the B.C. Supreme Court.
In his UN speech, which received a standing ovation, Kempling said, "that many religions consider homosexuality to be immoral, that it may be caused by negative psycho-social influences, and that it was nothing to be applauded.
"If this verdict is upheld by the courts, teachers will not be able to write privately to their own supervisors to question a new curriculum resource, or write privately to their own elected officials on a matter of public policy, nor will they be able to address the topic of homosexuality in post graduate research papers.
"I was disciplined for doing all these things," he said. "This is an unacceptable restriction on freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of intellectual expression. I am a Christian seven days a week, both on and off the job."
No teaching complaints
No complaints had ever been filed about Kempling's professional conduct in the classroom.
Opposing him at the B.C. Court of Appeals, in addition to the B.C. Teachers' College, are the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association.
He told the UN he's planning to fight, supported by the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Christian Legal Fellowship, the Christian Teachers' Association and his union.
Kempling says his lawyer warned him legal costs could run to half a million dollars, so a trust fund has been set up called The Christian Public School Teachers' Legal Defence Fund.
The Quesnel Board demands that he appear before them on March 31, he said, "to explain why I publicly criticized the government's same sex marriage legislation."
Kempling told the UN that he faces "a lengthy suspension without pay, even though not one homosexual person has complained about what I wrote."
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