After Emo town council twice refused to adopt a resolution celebrating Pride earlier this spring, a complaint has been filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against the municipality.
Borderland Pride, the LGBTQ2 Pride organization for the Rainy River District, filed the complaint alleging the town council was discriminatory in its decision to not support Pride Month.
The complaint was also made by the Northern Ontario Pride Network, Douglas Judson, a co-chairperson of Borderland Pride and a gay man who grew up in Emo, as well as Emo resident Katie Shoemaker, a mother with a same-sex spouse.
The complaint was also made against Emo Mayor Harold McQuaker and Couns. Harrold Boven and Warren Toles in addition to the municipality. The three council members defeated the Pride resolution in a 3-2 vote on both May 12 and 26.
McQuaker has defended his vote publicly, stating he believed he was representing the majority in the community and also said that Emo was a “good Christian community.”
The Chronicle-Journal reached out to McQuaker, Toles and Boven via email on Monday and only Boven replied by press time, stating he had no comment on the complaint.
The complaint alleges discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, family status and religion — all grounds protected by Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
In a news release issued on Monday by Borderland Pride, the organization states human rights cases in the province dating back to the mid-1990s have found a municipal council’s failure to provide a support resolution on the basis of code-protected grounds constitutes discrimination.