Not much on the Human Rights Commissions this week, so this will be a short one:
First: A Yellowknife landlord has been slapped with a $13,400 fine for refusing to rent an apartment to a gay couple. While the complainants were certainly within their rights to seek damages for the landlord withholding the damage deposit, the Tribunal decided to delve into and rule on the landlord’s religious beliefs.
But in his decision, Posynick said the right to religious freedom “is not unlimited” and Goertzen cannot justify evicting the couple on the basis that he was “following God’s word.”
“Mr. Goertzen made his own choices,” Posynick wrote. “I heard no evidence that God’s word included ignoring his legal obligations to treat other people — even people with different beliefs and different lifestyle choices than his own — with respect.”
What’s more, the Tribunal demolished the feeble argument that the Tribunals were intended to be remedial, and not punitive:
Posynick ordered Goertzen to pay $6,500 each to Robertson and Anthony, $5,000 of which compensates for injury to the men’s “dignity, feelings and self-respect.” The remaining $1,500 are punitive damages.
Second: Ian Haysom of the Victoria Times-Colonist believes that the BC Human Rights Tribunal is an appropriate venue to force male customers to “stop treating women as sex objects”. Along those lines, we could even rename the Tribunal as the “Department of Vice and Virtue”!
Third: Scaramouche informs us that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal now believes that alcoholics and addicts are “protected groups”. At least there’s somewhere that a straight white Christian male can go to get “protected” status without renouncing his religion or getting a sex change – the bottle!