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By David M. Bresnahan
August 25, 2002

OTTAWA, Canada -- The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) Tuesday ordered an Internet site to cease publishing information offensive to homosexuals.

Canada protects homosexuality as a lifestyle. Clergy and others have been cited for speaking out against homosexuality. The current action by the Tribunal may be seen by homosexual activists as a clear signal that opposition to homosexuality on the Internet can be stopped in Canada.

The Tribunal ordered John Micka, as well as Machiavelli and Associates Emprize Inc., Joanne Vestvik and Ken Fast to immediately cease communicating 'hate' messages on a web site known as the

The action came as the result of a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 1999 and 2000, claiming that Mark Schnell, a homosexual, was discriminated against by the web site.

In his complaint, Schnell said the site exposed "persons to hatred and contempt based on their sexual orientation." Schnell said that comments on the site were "offensive and derogatory, and that these messages implied that homosexuals are paedophiles."

In reaching his finding, Tribunal Chair Grant Sinclair emphasized that, "If the telephone is ideally suited to spread prejudicial ideas, the Internet is even better positioned. It is a very public form of communication, inexpensive, easily accessed, and can communicate many messages simultaneously to a world-wide audience."

Mary Gusella, newly appointed Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, echoed the Tribunal's concerns. She said that the Commission had a message for operators of hate Web sites. "Spreading hate is against the law in this country and will not be tolerated," stressed the Chief Commissioner, "and we will continue to serve the interests of Canadians by ensuring that meritorious complaints are reviewed by the Tribunal."

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