Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that a series of advertisements in Saskatchewan violated the province’s human rights code that prohibits hate speech against the LGBT community.
In the unanimous 6-0 decision, written by Justice Marshall Rothstein, Section 14 of the provinces human rights code “is to prevent discrimination by curtailing certain types of public expression.”
He stated that the ruling does not ban private statements or views on the topic.
The ruling also stated that there is a ban on speech that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity” of people or groups on the basis of their sexual orientation. Rothstein said this was unconstitutional under Canadian law.
The decision has been welcomed by LGBT activists, who told 429Magazine that the decision shows that Canada is asserting itself as a leader on such issues and will no longer stand to allow hate speech against the gay community.
The decision trimmed penalties that had been levied against William Whatcott from $17,500 to $7,500. In 2001 and 2002, Whatcott distributed anti-gay flyers in Regina and Saskatoon.
Two of Whatcott’s flyers said “Saskatchewan’s largest gay magazine allows ads for men seeking boys!; If you cause one of these little ones to stumble it would be better that a millstone was tied around your neck and you were cast out into the sea.”