White Rock BIA president Ernie Klassen, and longtime residents Ruth Allard and Louise McKnight stand at the Five Corners crosswalks that are to be repainted in rainbow colours, thanks to their appeal to council last year. (File photo)

B.C. Pride group ‘discriminated’ against by Catholic church, president says

Church denied society’s request to host Pride event

The president of the White Rock Pride Society says his organization feels discriminated against because the Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Parish will not rent its community centre to the society for an upcoming Pride event.

Ernie Klassen told Peace Arch News Monday that 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.

“They are not in favour of gay marriage and they believe that it’s a chosen lifestyle and they are opposed to anything to do with the gay community. It’s against their beliefs,” Klassen said.

When contacted for comment Monday, the Star of the Sea requested that PAN contact a spokesperson at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver.

“We’ve just decided against responding publicly to the White Rock Pride Society’s complaint,” Archdiocese of Vancouver director of strategic communications Paul Schratz wrote to PAN Monday.

However, Archbishop delegate James Borkowski emailed a statement to PAN Wednesday.

“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 said that when the Pride Society asked to speak further about the issue with the Catholic church, they were told to speak to the church’s lawyer.

SEE ALSO: Rainbow flag flies in White Rock

The White Rock Pride Society hosted a dinner and dance fundraiser for PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) at Elk’s Hall last year. The venue has a capacity of 120 people.

Klassen said that he expects the society could double the attendance with a bigger venue, which is why they contacted Star of the Sea.

“I guess our biggest issue is that they call it the Star of the Sea Community Centre and they rent it out to the public. There’s something there almost every week that has nothing to do with the church.

“If you want to call yourself a community centre, and get the property tax relief from the city, then I’m now, as a White Rock citizen, subsidizing their taxes and I’m not allowed to use their facility,” Klassen said.

“There’s the dilemma. If you want to hold it strictly for the catholic church purposes, then promote it as such.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Former White Rock mayor Wayne Baldwin cuts a rainbow-coloured ribbon at the official unveiling of White Rock’s rainbow crosswalk in the Five Corners neighbourhood last year. (Bob Bezubiak/File photo)

Just Posted

Editorial: Byelection riding boundaries are simpler this time

Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection will be held May 6 to choose a new MP for the riding

Departure Bay Eco-School students calling for old cellphones

Grade 7 students at Nanaimo school taking part in Recycle My Cell Earth Month Challenge

RDN to share cost of Parksville’s goose harvest

City asked regional district to pay one-third of $35K expense

Woman who was chased and tackled by break-and-enter victim sentenced in Nanaimo court

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was sentenced to time served and will be released from jail

Health minister talks opioid crisis in campaign stop in Nanaimo

Support of cabinet ministers ‘incredible’ experience, says Liberal candidate

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

First Nanaimo-Ladysmith all-candidates’ meeting is today

Six candidates expected to debate issues Thursday, April 25, at the Beban Park social centre

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Nanaimo Astronomy Society already anticipating next moon mission

Society’s next meeting is on Thursday, April 25, at Beban Park social centre

Most Read