Former White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin cut a rainbow-coloured ribbon at the official unveiling of White Rock’s rainbow crosswalk in the Five Corners neighbourhood last July. (Bob Bezubiak/Twitter photo)

White Rock Pride Society files human rights complaint against Star of the Sea Church

The BC Human Rights Tribunal complaint was filed June 3

The White Rock Pride Society has filed a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal, alleging discrimination by the Star of the Sea Parish on the basis of sexual orientation.

Last April, White Rock Pride Society president Ernie Klassen told Peace Arch News that his organization feels discriminated against because Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Parish will not rent its community centre to the society for an upcoming pride event.

Klassen said he was initially told by Star of the Sea that the community centre was available for the date the society wanted, and he put in an application.

However, the Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Klassen said, turned down the application.

RELATED: White Rock Pride Society ‘discriminated’ against by Catholic church, president says

Archbishop delegate James Borkowski emailed PAN a statement earlier this year, explaining the decision to not rent the society to the Pride Society.

“The parish reviews all applications for events to ensure that the proposed use of the parish center would not be contrary to the teachings on faith and morals of the Catholic Church. We regret that this will inevitably disappoint some people and we strive to give answers in as timely a fashion as possible,” the statement read.

Klassen filed the Human Rights Tribunal complaint, on behalf of the White Rock Pride Society, on Monday.

The complaint makes note of a 2018 fundraiser hosted by the society, “Love is Love,” at the Elks Hall. This year, the society plans on hosting a larger fundraiser for the Alexandra Neighbourhood House.

“Given the success of the 2018 Fundraiser, the Pride Society anticipated that its 2019 fundraising gala… would be larger than the one in 2018,” the complaint says.

Requirements for the event, according to the complaint, is a building with a capacity for at least 200 guests (White Rock Elks Hall has capacity for approximately 120 people), the facility includes a fully-equipped kitchen, a low rental rate, and that it be located in White Rock and available on July 27.

“The Pride Society considered several potential venues in White Rock, including the White Rock Curling Club, White Rock City Community Centre and again, Elks Hall. Given its location, facilities, low rental rate and capacity for a potentially larger event, the Community Centre was the Pride Society’s first choice of venue.”

The complaint says that the refusal to rent the community hall “damaged the inherent dignity, feelings and self-respect of the Pride Society’s members.”

The Pride Society is seeking a declaration from the Human Rights Tribunal that the Star of the Sea Parish’s conduct “was discriminatory and without bona fide and reasonable justification.”

In a news release to PAN, the White Rock Pride Society said it is not in a position to provide further comment regarding the matter, and the Archdiocese of Vancouver has not yet responded to PAN’s request for comment as of press deadline Wednesday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
Bill Fraser Health for excessive mental-health-related police time at White Rock hospital: top cop

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Left, Rowena Leivo early on in her volunteer career with the South Surrey/White Rock Food Bank. Right, Leivo in the food bank Tuesday. (Contributed photos)
After 34 years, ‘The Boss’ retires from South Surrey Food Bank volunteer gig

Rowena Leivo, 90, spent a third of her life volunteering at the food bank

Ali Watson in Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of “No Child…,” which plays until Nov. 8. (photo: Moonrider Productions)
Viewers of Arts Club’s streaming plays support Surrey Civic Theatres

Company’s ‘bubble method’ of theatre production means just 50 in-person tickets for each performance

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, B.C., on October 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Liberal Leader maintains confidence as campaign tests party identity

Liberal campaign has been disrupted by controversy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Most Read