REGINA, SK. Nov. 3, 2010 (CCRL) – The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (HRC) has been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada the decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in favour of Bill Whatcott, formally of Regina and now of Edmonton. Mr. Whatcott was fined $17,500 by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (HRC) for objecting to what he judged to be homosexual values being taught to children in Saskatoon Public schools. A date for the Supreme Court’s hearing is still to be set.
In February, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal had ruled in Bill Whatcott’s favour, overturning the decision of a human rights tribunal that had ordered him to pay $17,500 in compensation to four people who had complained his flyers exposed them to hatred. The appeal court found that while Whatcott’s pamphlets attacking teaching schoolchildren about homosexuality used crude and offensive language, they were protected by the right to freedom of expression.
According to Mr. Whatcott’s lawyer, Tom Schuck of Weyburn, SK, the Court of Appeal decision was especially important for Christians, as it established the precedent that one could criticize the morality of homosexual behavior without fear of prosecution by Human Rights Commissions. “The earlier decision has enabled HRCs to move more aggressively in the prosecution of other Christian people, including Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, and Rev. Stephen Boissoin, an Evangelical minister in Red Deer, for criticizing same sex behavior,” said Mr. Schuck.
“In the Supreme Court we will be arguing that HRCs ought to remain neutral on important moral issues of the day”, Mr. Schuck said, “and let society through the use of free speech reach its own consensus as to the appropriateness of different forms of sexual behaviour. HRCs have an obligation to protect Freedom of Religion…not impose their own morality on the rest of us.”
This is the second time Mr. Whatcott has defended a Court of Appeal decision in the Supreme Court in the past two years. In 2008, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Court of Appeal by the Saskatchewan Licensed Practical Nurses Association who attempted to fine and discipline Whatcott for demonstrating against Planned Parenthood. In addition, Whatcott has won three other appeals to the Court of Queen’s Bench for convictions resulting from his Show the Truth campaign and public demonstrations, and won several other cases.