Is Fearing God’s Wrath a Good Enough Reason to Deny Apartment to Gay Couple?

Don’t you at all feel bad for Will Goertzen, the Canadian landlord who feared God would strike him down if he rented an apartment to two gay men? That’s why he tore up the lease he signed with Scott Robertson and Richard Anthony, denying them the flat after learning they were a couple, because homosexuality “isn’t natural and it’s a crime against nature. I can definitely not have a part in it,” he told the Human Rights Commission. And what did Goertzen’s Christian act allegedly do? Made Robertson and Anthony homeless for 10 days as they searched for a new home, as they had just sold their house. The men want $23,500, each, in punitive damages. But keep in mind: Goertzen was just looking out for the well-being of young folk!

Anthony’s sister and her son already lived in the building, and Goertzen — who “recognizes the supremacy of God over the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” notes the Canadian Press — believed letting the gays move in would have a negative influence on the young boy.

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  • Tallskin

    Seems like this landlord has no legal leg to stand on – hope he gets screwed financially by the courts

    But what is about the religiously afflicted that they make statements like “I fear god’s wrath coming down upon me” but there’s never ever been an incident where this imaginary sky pixie has ever done this, to anyone, ever!??

  • Mark Alexander

    Robertson and Anthony are going to OWN that building by the time this all shakes out.

  • Joseph

    I’m sorry but people who use religon to defend their actions just fly over my head.
    I don’t belive it so it dosn’t go down well with me.

  • ewe

    Pay up and drag them through the courts for discrimination before they make their pit stop. Then let them open up a hellish nonprofit and stay out of the real estate business if they do not like people different from themselves. If all these fools are headed to heaven i know there is even a better place for me. yeehaw.

  • Pira

    Being Canadian, I clicked the source link, curious as to where this happened. I’ve never been to Yellowknife, so I can’t really say what it’s like there, but it seems here in Canada that the farther away you get from Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, or Ottawa, the more conservative people are in general.

  • TomEM

    @Pira: He’s not a “conservative” Pira: He’s a mentally-ill ass hat.

  • TomEM

    being Canadian too

  • Zach


    Generally, the farther you get away from large cities with diverse populations, the more conservative people are. It’s not a Canadian phenomenon.

    I really detest the self-expanded mandate of the Human Rights Commissions; too often, they’re busy telling people what they can and can’t say. And I would rather this have gone to court. Nonetheless, it seems a pretty clear-cut case of discrimination.

  • B

    Will Goertzen’s statement that “I can definitely not have a part in it,” was the one reasonable thing he said – a Christian landlord should not be expected to be in a three-way with his gay tenants, all the more so if the tenants don’t want to be in a three-way with him! Never mind that he meant something else – it was too funny a wisecrack to pass up.

  • Sergio

    I completely agree that the landlord is wrong in denying them the right to live in his apartment building. My fear is that conservatives in the US will use this to their advantage. They’ll say that we gays are infringing on their right to freedom of religion.

  • ktbisl32

    Yes, it’s discriminatory and yes I think this landlord is wrong in doing that, but he owns the building and he should have the right to lease it to who he pleases. If the man truly believes he’ll be struck down by God for this (even if we/I think that’s ridiculous because I don’t believe in God) you seriously think the government should be able to force him to face that? His property, his choice. If I were a landlord I’d rent to stable people who I felt could pay rent on time. But hey, everybody’s got different requirements I guess.


    @ktbisl32: So by your reasoning it would be ok for him to not rent to Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Asians also???? Sometimes the comments on these threads simply boggle my mind………

  • Queer Supremacist

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: How about if a gay landlord declares his building gay-only and refused to lease to heterosexuals? I would have no problem with that.

  • Queer Supremacist


    I really detest the self-expanded mandate of the Human Rights Commissions; too often, they’re busy telling people what they can and can’t say.

    They’re not going far enough. Remember, Canada is not the USA. They don’t have “free speech” like we do. Actually, all humans have free speech, their government is simply allowed to infringe on it. But it is applied inconsistently.

  • ktbisl32

    @Plays well with others. Yes, that’s right by my reasoning a landlord can choose to rent his property to certain races or religions as well. That’s right, if he’s racist he can choose who lives in his house on that basis. Suppose you were forced to rent your property to WBC members because they’re a religious group and the government enforces tolerance for religious groups. Again, it’s his house and his choice. I think it’s stupid and I think not renting to people who are qualified whether on the basis of race, religion, sexuality, whatever means you’re not renting to people who can pay your rent and take care of your property which one would think you’d want as a landlord. I’m not saying he’s right, I’m saying he has the right to be stupid. Unfortunately.


    @Queer Supremacist:
    Sorry but in the vast majority of time the wants of the majority outnumber the needs of the minorites. Back in the 60’s civil rights if put to a vote would never have been approved. If we went by your reasoning a vote to force all Gays into “rehabiliation facilites” (which have been seriously discussed by many of the rightwing lunatics) is something that could come about……I for one would love to live in an all Gay building. But there are more people who would prefer not to rent to us, than Gays who would. We need the protections………

  • ktbisl32

    @Plays Well W Others:
    I’m finding this an interesting back and forth, but I don’t think you’re interpreting what I’m saying correctly. By my logic, a blanket law to rehab gays wouldn’t happen because the government couldn’t direct a personal life like that just as they can’t direct this landlord with what he should do with his property. And, under my logic, there could also be an all gay building, if that’s what the landlord chooses to do it’s his or her right to do so.


    @ktbisl32: The faster we go the rounder we get…….Garcia/Hunter :-p

    As to our volley here………I kinda sorta hear what you are saying. But I would not be for Gay Mellrose Place, because if the Gays can rent to only Gays then the vice versa is that Straights can rent to only straights. There are waaaaay more straight landlords than Gay landlords out there. And because we are a minority we need the protections afforded by law as opposed to majority rule. Same as applied to the woman’s suffregate movement, and the civil rights movement. Neither of which would have passed during their times if it was put up to the public at large to decide……….

  • gilber

    ……..I can definitely not have a part in it,”
    he definitely has a big chunk of it.evil never goes against nature, in fact, it is supported by it,famines,accidents,killings,diseases,anti-couples with unthinkable levels of sexual dimorphism,sexual deviancy between sexual inverted anti-couples,male-male competition and female choice,natural abortions,cannibalism,infanticides,and the list goes on and on and on……..

  • CaliberGuy

    @Queer Supremacist:
    I would as it would be discrimination of housing, and that should not be allowed under the law, especially for things that can not be change like race, national origin (one can’t change what country they are born in), sexual orientation. age as long as it over legal age to sign contract.

    I also don’t believe that religion should be allowed to be a deciding factor ether.

    If you want to rent your property to the public then the criteria should be that they have to demonstrate an ability to pay the rent (an income) on time (credit check to see if the have a history of payment issues) and that they will take care of the place in a satisfactory manner.(references to see if they have trashed previous places, and background check to see if they have any “issues” that could affect that ability)

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