OTTAWA, ON May 1, 2013 – The Catholic Civil Rights League is pleased to announce that its application to intervene in the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) appeal of the Ontario court decision legalizing keeping a common bawdy house and communicating for the purpose of engaging in prostitution has been accepted. The League will fill a factum jointly with our colleague organizations Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF) and REAL Women of Canada, with which we intervened in the first two levels of the case.
The SCC will consider whether sections 210 (keeping a common bawdy house), 212(1)(j) (living on the avails of prostitution) and 213(1)(c) (communicating for the purpose of engaging in prostitution) of the Criminal Code infringe the Charter in a manner that cannot be justified in a free and democratic society, and are therefore unconstitutional. (The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the restriction on soliciting in public for purposes of prostitution.)
Our application to intervene stated that we intend to focus on issues of morality and human dignity. We will argue that the impugned laws are constitutional given their purpose of protecting public morality. The application judge at the original trial in Ontario Superior Court agreed that morality is a constitutionally valid legislative objective.
In the Ontario Court of Appeal, our coalition was the only intervenor supporting the constitutionality of the impugned provisions. We will argue that that prostitution is an act that offends the consciences of ordinary Canadian citizens and, as a result, that the impugned laws reflect Canadian society’s moral convictions.
Together with CLF and REAL Women, the League believes morality is a cornerstone of the impugned laws. In addition, the impugned laws relate to the type of conduct that the community, through Parliament, can determine to be appropriate or inappropriate in public–as opposed to private–places. Finally, it is our view that Parliament designed the impugned laws to protect the dignity of prostitution’s victims, and it is the coalition’s common goal to protect human dignity.
In all of these issues, we argued that we have an important perspective that is distinct from the parties and other interveners. Our coalition will advance the position that morality was one of the original objectives of the impugned laws.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information:
Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org