ADF-allied attorney available to media after arguments in significant Canadian free speech case

Court will hear appeal of Alberta commission’s ‘hate speech’ decision
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

WHO: ADF-allied attorney Gerald Chipeur
WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Boissoin v. Lund
WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. MDT each day Sept. 16-17
WHERE: Court of the Queen’s Bench, Calgary Courts Centre, 601 5th St. SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

CALGARY, Alberta — Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney Gerald Chipeur will be available for media interviews following his oral arguments Wednesday before the Court of the Queen’s Bench in a pivotal Canadian free speech case. Justice Earl Wilson will take up the case of a pastor punished by the Alberta Human Rights Commission for letters-to-the-editor published in a newspaper regarding his Christian views on homosexual behavior.

“People of faith should not be fined or jailed for expressing their political or religious beliefs,” said Chipeur.  “The ability to express one’s conscience is a fundamental human right protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This pastor cannot be muzzled simply because someone else does not share his viewpoint, and a recent decision from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in a national case confirms this.”

A University of Calgary professor, Dr. Darren Lund, reported Pastor Stephen Boissoin to the Alberta Human Rights Commission in 2002 for published letters Boissoin wrote on homosexual behavior. Lund accused Boissoin of violating a Canadian human rights law with regard to “sexual orientation” after two letters from Boissoin appeared in the Red Deer Advocate that year.

Lund was unsuccessful in an attempt to prevent his complaint from being published on the Internet in 2006. The commission, however, eventually did rule against Boissoin in May 2008, ordering Boissoin to cease any further public expression of his views on homosexual behavior. The commission also ordered Boissoin to pay Lund $5,000 and provide him with a written apology even though he was not the subject of any of Boissoin’s writings and Boissoin didn’t even know who he was prior to the complaint Lund filed with the commission. Now the case will be heard before a Canadian court of law.

On Sept. 2, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in a separate case that a section of the country’s Human Rights Act that restricts speech under the guise of preventing “hate speech” violates the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the bill of rights included within the Constitution of Canada.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.