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

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake returns to Langford

Annual fundraising event held from April 26 to 28

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read