A Canadian allied attorney helps overturn a dangerous ruling threatening the freedom to speak publicly, and privately, about Biblical morality.
Defending Religious Liberty Against Charges of “Hate Speech”
What most impressed Gerald Chipeur, he says, during his first ADF National Litigation Academy session, was the ministry’s “combination of deep spiritual commitment with a deep commitment to the law” in defense of religious freedom. It’s a combination Chipeur shares.
Now an ADF-allied attorney, Chipeur practices in Calgary, Alberta, and represents Stephen Boissoin, a pastor whose public opposition to primary school textbooks touting same-sex “marriage” outraged a teacher in his community, Dr. Darren Lund. Lund filed a complaint against Boissoin with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. When the commission dismissed the case, he appealed to a human rights tribunal … which took his cause much more seriously.
The tribunal ordered Boissoin to pay $7,000 in compensation and make a public apology, and then – in a breathtaking assault on Boissoin’s most fundamental freedoms –issued a permanent injunction forbidding Boissoin to say anything negative against Lund, same-sex unions, or homosexual behavior in either public or private conversation for the rest of his life.
"This was a watershed case."
Chipeur pursued an appeal on behalf of Boissoin, and an appellate judge not only threw out the tribunal’s decision, but ruled it had no constitutional authority to preside in such circumstances.
“This was a watershed case,” Chipeur says. “Very important, in terms of freedom of expression and religious liberty. Going forward, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for religious or political debate to be found in breach of Alberta’s current human rights laws.”
For Chipeur – who became an attorney “out of a desire to be helpful to others in need” – winning this crucial battle affirmed his belief that “lawyers are the foot soldiers in the war for liberty.”
“I’ve been involved in constitutional law and religious liberty cases from the time I was in law school in the early 80s,” he says. And, while not all those cases are specifically ADF-related, “I consider that any time I work on religious liberty cases today, I do it in conjunction with ADF.”