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Egale Canada lauds equal protection under law ruling by Supreme Court

TORONTO, Canada -- Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. William Whatcott is a merited affirmation of LGB equality under Canadian law.

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court rejected the notion that some groups of people are less deserving of human rights protections than others, overturning comments to this effect by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

Egale Canada had intervened in this case to oppose the appeal court’s assertion that sexual orientation is a matter of morality such that hatred based on it is less serious than hatred based on race or religion.

“The Court wisely held that connecting speech to morality or public debate doesn’t immunize it from restrictions on hate speech,” said Robert Leckey, president of Egale Canada. “We appreciate that the Court recognized the strong connection between same-sex sexual conduct and sexual orientation, namely that attacks on such conduct may be a proxy for attacks on the group.”

In keeping with a longstanding commitment to freedom of speech, Egale Canada took no position on the constitutionality of the provincial law or on its application to Whatcott’s flyers.

“Egale Canada’s sole concern in this case was that legal protections be applied equally to all, whatever their sexual orientation,” Leckey said.

Egale Canada is Canada’s LGBT human rights organization: advancing equality, diversity, education and justice.