Alberta vows to change archaic law
EDMONTON — Alberta doctors still bill the province for treating homosexuality as a mental disorder akin to bestiality and pedophilia, despite assurances from the former health minister in 2010 that the “incorrect and unacceptable classification” would be removed immediately. Liberal Laurie Blakeman says in late 2010 the minister of health agreed that doctors’ diagnostic billing codes listing sexual orientation under mental illness were unacceptable but they are still being used. In 2010 doctors billed the province for treating homosexuality as a mental disorder five times. Human rights activist Rob Wells released government records showing doctors used the diagnostic code to bill the province for treating gays and lesbians more than 1,750 times between 1995 and 2004. Health Minister Fred Horne says he will look into the matter urgently.
Judge says no to hate crime
VANCOUVER- Gay activists are infuriated by a Vancouver judge's refusal to recognize an assault against a gay man outside the gay village as a gaybashing or hate crime. Judge Rosemary Gallagher ruled recently that hate was not a motivating factor in the assault that took place in December 2009. She said the facts did "not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the offence happened because the victim was gay." She also said the offence did not happen in a ‘highly visible’ homosexual area. And, she said, it was "arguable" whether the violence was extreme or disproportionate. The attack broke a gay man's jaw in two places, requiring two surgeries, eight screws and a plate. Crown prosecutor Ann Seymour had sought a hate-crime designation at the assailant's sentencing hearing in November, saying the youth knew the victim was gay before he assaulted him. "He called him a 'fucking faggot' several times as he assaulted him," Seymour told Gallagher.
Hate is the real sin
EDMONTON- Alberta’s new Education Act prohibits homeschools, private schools and Catholic schools from teaching students that being gay is a sin. "Whatever the nature of schooling - homeschool, private school, Catholic school - we do not tolerate disrespect for differences," the assistant director of communications for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, Donna McColl said. The new legislation reinforces the Alberta School Act, which makes schools "reflect the diverse nature" of the province in their curriculum. It says schools must "honor and respect" the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Gay frat boys at McGill
MONTREAL-There is now a gay fraternity at McGill University, known as the Delta Lambda Phi (DLP) The fraternity’s U.S. national directors and the New York City chapter’s mentors recently flew into Montreal for the charter and initiation ceremonies. Chapter president Michael D’Alimonte laughed when media asked if the initiation rituals will resemble a gay porn flick. “There are all these sexual stereotypes of gay men, not to mention gay fraternities,” he says. “We have a hands-off frat. We discourage brothers from hooking up and demand there be no extra-fraternal relations, except with pledges.” DLP is a U.S. college fraternity with a membership of gay, straight and bisexual men. It was founded in 1986 by Vernon L Strickland III in Washington, D.C. DLP is fast-growing in the US, where there are 28 gay fraternities on various college campuses. McGill is the first DLP chapter to be chartered outside the US.
Calgary gay club closes
CALGARY-Club Sapien, the Calgary gay nightclub known for community outreach work, announced recently that it will be closing its doors for good. The bar has been conditionally sold. Many in Calgary’s gay and lesbian community loved Club Sapien. Spokesmen from at least 10 local queer organizations, including Pride Calgary and the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association, posted condolences on the club’s Facebook page, noting its strong support for community events, charities and youth groups.
Feds close loophole
OTTAWA — The federal government has tabled legislation to close a loophole that has called into question the legitimacy of thousands of gay marriages among foreigners who’ve come to Canada to wed. The issue emerged after a foreign same-sex couple sought a divorce in Canada only to learn the Divorce Act required applicants to have resided here for at least 12 months. A Crown lawyer sparked controversy last month with the argument that foreign same-sex couples can’t divorce in Canada since they were never really married in the first place. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the amendments will make the non-resident marriages valid under Canadian law and will allow couples to end their nuptials if they’re not able to divorce where they live.
– Compiled by Peter Carlye-Gordge.