“I do not speak for God. I felt at peace under God in writing the letter,” a homophobic former pastor told the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission yesterday. Stephen Boissoin stands accused of inciting anti-gay violence a 2002 letter calling on readers to “take whatever steps are necessary to reverse [gay] wickedness”.
Testifying yesterday, Boissoin maintained his innocence, insisting he just wanted to “stimulate conversation”:
My opinion is that a man having a romantic relationship with a man, or a woman having a romantic relationship with a woman, is wrong. Yes, I do believe it’s wrong. I hoped and knew this would stimulate conversation, to get people more educated to ask why and an opportunity to share my view.
We’d rather be blind than see through your eyes, mister.
Professor Darren Lund, who filed the case against Boissoin, told a court yesterday that Boissoin’s belligerence directly led to a hate crime two weeks later. “This letter clearly invokes militaristic language that is likely to incite hatred,” he contended. Lund’s pal, psychology professor Kevin Alderson, also told the commission that Boissoin’s letter posed an immediate threat, “This is a good example of what hate speech does. It builds momentum.”
Not everyone agrees with Lund’s position. Gay activist group Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere has said they’d rather Boissoin air his grievances, “It is far better that Boissoin expose his views than have them pushed underground.” Shame. We bet Boissoin’s letter would make great fertilizer.