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

Snow falling at Big White near season’s end

Big White is open until April 22

Easter dinner at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

Clients of the Gospel Mission are in for an Easter feast.

Federal government invests in Kelowna International Airport

The $840,000 is to promote tourism and trade between Kelowna and Saskatoon

VIDEO: Weekend weather for the Okanagan-Shuswap

A mix of rain, clouds and sun are expected for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen

Big Changes to Kelowna’s Fat Cat

“We wanted to revitalize the event”

It was no Kentucky Derby: B.C. girls host foot-long snail race

Two Grade 3 students in White Rock put four snails to the test in a hotly-contested street race

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Rain closes North Okanagan fields

Forecast calling for more rain Friday

Big stories begin with small suitcase in upcoming festival

Shuswap-Okanagan storytellers to open up at Festival of Mini Theatre in Salmon Arm

Undercover cops don’t need warrant to email, text suspected child lurers: court

High court decision came Thursday in the case of Sean Patrick Mills of Newfoundland

Letter: Writer hopes Alberta will turn off the tap, teach B.C. a lesson

So glad to see Jason Kenney get elected in Alberta and hope… Continue reading

Summerland reservoirs expected to fill, despite low snow levels

Snow measurements at two Summerland sites have been significantly lower than normal

Whitecaps fans stage walkout over club’s response to allegations against B.C. coach

Soccer coach has been suspended by Coastal FC since February

Most Read