Kamloops’ councillor fined for statemensts on homosexuality

By  Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News
  • February 11, 2007
OTTAWA - A Kamloops, B.C., city councillor has agreed to pay a $1,000 settlement to a homosexual couple for public statements he made about homosexuality.

The Catholic Civil Rights League said this settlement is part of a disturbing trend against freedom of speech and religion.

John Olynick and Greg Koll filed a complaint last August with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal against Councillor John Di Cicco, a Catholic, after he told a television program last June he believed homosexuality was "not normal and not natural."  He also said he didn't know "whether it's a disease" or not. Di Cicco had been speaking out in opposition to the city's Gay Pride Week at council meetings as well.

"In essence, in order to avoid further costs of a hearing, Mr. Di Cicco has agreed to pay fees for making statements in a public forum that are reflective of the church's teaching, which states that homosexual activities are 'intrinsically disordered,' " said league president Phil Horgan, citing paragraph 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

"This type of process exposes the serious challenges to freedom of expression and freedom of religion that Canadians in all walks of life may face in response to comments based on deeply held religious belief," Horgan said. "We can expect to see more challenges of this kind as the impact of same-sex marriage continues to play out in daily life, in areas such as governments, schools and the workplace."

Last June, someone vandalized Di Cicco's business by painting "Homophobia, die" on his barber shop. He has since issued a written apology that was not part of the settlement.

Horgan noted a disturbing pattern of complaints and rulings against people who have professed Catholic teaching or objected to same-sex marriage. Even though the Knights of Columbus were found within their rights to refuse the use of their hall for a same-sex wedding reception, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ordered the Knights to pay the complainants for their hurt feelings. Two separate complaints against Calgary Bishop Fred Henry were withdrawn, but not before great legal expense.

The City of Kamloops has agreed to pay the $10,000 in  Di Cicco's legal fees.

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