Christian Ministry Fined $23,000 in Gay Discrimination Case

One of Canada's largest Christian ministries dedicated to caring for the disabled was fined $23,000 recently by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for allegedly discriminating against a former homosexual employee.

Connie Heintz claimed discrimination against Christian Horizons after she said she was "subjected to a poisoned work environment" and pressured into quitting her job after she entered a homosexual relationship – which was in violation of her work contract back in 2000.

In line with its Christian foundation and principles, the ministry requires that all its employees sign "morality statements" vowing to abstain from immoral behavior, including pornography, pre-marital, extra-marital, and homosexual activity as a condition of employment.

In a recently made public ruling, Michael Gottheil, the single adjudicator representing the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, ruled against Christian Horizons, ordering the organization to pay Heintz $23,000 in fines plus two years wages and benefits.

Gottheil also ordered that the organization abandon its Christian principles barring homosexual behavior and issued mandates that it begin requiring all employees to attend a homosexual oriented "human rights training program."

In a statement, Barbara Hall, the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, wrote approvingly of the decision by the tribunal.

"This decision is important because it sets out that when faith-based and other organizations move beyond serving the interests of their particular community to serving the general public, the rights of others, including employees, must be respected," she said.

The Family Research Council (FRC), however, criticized the recent ruling as yet another attack in the worldwide effort to stamp out Christianity.

"It sounds unfair, yet this is the same rationale that's fueling the U.S. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) debate. ENDA would mandate employer tolerance of all forms of sexual orientation in hiring, firing, promotion, and many Christian-oriented businesses (such as bookstores and radio stations) may not be protected by the bill's limited religious exemption," the FRC said in a statement.

John Jalsevac, of, also wrote incredulously of the ruling in a column.

"Connie Heintz wasn't even fired. She resigned. And, what is more, Heintz herself testified that her former boss at CH actually tried to help her find another job by providing her with listings of vacancies with other charities – hardly the actions of someone who is 'homophobic,'" he wrote.

"In the world of the Commissions, dogmatic Christians are by definition the bigots," he added.

Founded in 1965 by a group of Christian parents seeking to care for their disabled children, Christian Horizons is one of the largest organizations in Canada dedicated to caring for the disabled, receiving about $75 million annually through the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!


Most Popular

More In Politics