In Northwest Territories, a landlord decided not to rent to a gay couple for the sole reason that they were gay, and he’s paying the price. Watch for the usual suspects to add this to their “We are oppressed victims!” file for e-mail blasts and whatnot:
A gay couple in Yellowknife have been awarded $13,400 in compensation because a landlord would not rent them an apartment on the basis of their sexual orientation.
In a written decision issued this month, Northwest Territories human-rights adjudicator James Posynick ruled that William Goertzen did not give a justifiable reason for refusing Scott Robertson and Richard Anthony when they tried to rent the main floor of his Yellowknife house in May 2009.
Of course, the landlord explained that his reasons for breaking the lease were entirely paranoid and delusional in nature:
Goertzen, a journeyman lineman who attends a local Baptist church, said he instead put the rental back on the market because he feared he would suffer “‘undue hardship’ by punishment administered by God” if he allowed gay people to live in his building, according to the decision.
Goertzen said he believed “that same-sex relationships are ‘unnatural and against nature’ and ‘the Bible warns against being associated with such wickedness,” the decision states in part.
Basically, he’s scared of the monster under the bed, in the closet, in the sky, or wherever he imagines his version of God is [all of those places!], and thus would be putting a giant target on himself, so that the next time his Deity was a-lookin’ fer a fight, he’d see Goetzen, and right underneath him, a gay couple cooking dinner, and that was just too big a risk to take, you know?
He, of course, argued, just like American fundamentalist Christians do, that his religious beliefs were being violated, because in fundamentalist wingnuttia, “religious freedom” means that you should be able to hurt anyone who doesn’t share your weird beliefs, lest you run the risk of said beliefs being challenged in any way.
“I’d have to ask where are my rights … why can I not stand on my beliefs and what I believe in?” Goertzen told CBC News in July.
“They might think it’s discrimination against them, but I’m losing my beliefs and there’s definitely my religious convictions.”
But in his decision, Posynick said the right to religious freedom “is not unlimited” and Goertzen cannot justify evicting the couple on the basis that he was “following God’s word.”
Precisely. Religious freedom ends when it starts infringing upon other people’s rights, and Canada is doing a better job living up to the ideals the United States espouses than we are.