Jim, the LGBTQ+ community does not owe the Southgate Church an apology. I am writing this letter on Canada Day. This is a day to reflect on what it means to be a Canadian. I am old enough to remember when the Charter of Rights of Freedoms became a fundamental part of our law, but also a fundamental symbol of who we are. In Canada, we protect the rights of all of people, regardless of their self-defined gender and sexual orientation. We afford them the right to marry and create families. When we march in the PRIDE parade, as I did with my grandchildren, we go beyond tolerance to acceptance and to celebration. It was day to celebrate all kinds of love and all kinds of families.
As an advanced democracy, we in Canada separate church and state. This is a good thing. Public spaces and public money must strive to support human rights and the law. I am sure there are many kind people who belong to the Southgate Church. However, as with many religious institutions, the Southgate Church does not embrace and celebrate love and marriage among all self-defined genders. It is too much to ask of our LGBTQ+ friends that they put aside decades of persecution in Canada to skate at the Southgate Church, a place where their love is not celebrated and embraced.
To North Grenville Council, I ask that you act in the spirit of Canada Day and ensure that public money is spent on public spaces. To you Jim, I ask that you consider your privilege and consider the hard road that our LGBTQ+ friends continue to follow to move from tolerance to celebration.