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EGALE BACKS LITTLE SISTER’S COURT FIGHT

Egale Canada has applied to testify before the Supreme Court Of Canada in support of Little Sister’s Bookstore in its long-running battle against Canada’s border police.

The Canada Border Services Agency, formerly Canada Customs, has routinely seized shipments of queer-themed material bound for Little Sister’s since 1986 because, they say, it’s obscene.

At issue now is a fight to secure advance funding from the federal government to cover Little Sister’s legal costs in its upcoming trial over Customs’ seizure of several SM comics. Without advance funding, the bookstore likely can’t pursue the case further.

“We’re thrilled and pleased about it,” Little Sister’s co-owner Jim Deva told Xtra West Mar 7.

The advance costs case goes before the Supreme Court Of Canada on Apr 21. The court is expected to rule on Egale’s request for intervener status in the next few weeks.

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VANCOUVER BDSM CASE UNDER FIRE

The city of Vancouver has entered the fray to try to stop the BC Human Rights Tribunal from hearing a case which could find BDSM deserves legal protection from discrimination.

The tribunal was set to hear evidence in the case later this year, after preliminary hearings three months ago.

In her Dec 28 preliminary decision, tribunal member Lindsay Lyster found that protection for sexual orientation currently in BC’s Human Rights Code should be extended to kinky sexual behaviour such as BDSM.

Now, however, the city wants the BC Supreme Court to intervene and declare that sexual orientation is connected to gender and doesn’t include behaviours and practices at all.

According to documents filed Feb 24 in BC Supreme Court by city lawyer David Hill, the city is asking that the court declare that, for the purposes of the provincial Human Rights Code, sexual orientation “means the gender of those to whom an individual’s sexuality is directed.”

The city wants the court to reject Lyster’s finding that sexual orientation includes “bondage and discipline, domination and submission and sadism and masochism.”

In her preliminary ruling, Lyster said: “The ground of sexual orientation is not exclusively status or identity-based, but also protects against discrimination on the basis of behaviours engaged in as a result of a person’s orientation. If it were otherwise, the prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation would offer scant protection indeed.”

The city has asked the court to quash Lyster’s order that further hearings be held.

The case stems from a Vancouver police officer’s refusal to grant a chauffeur’s permit to self-described pagan and BDSM lifestyler Peter Hayes. Hayes alleges the officer told him that participation in pagan religious activities and domination/submission relationships made him a “danger to society.”