BC Liberal ad from Oct. 4, 2019 in The Light Magazine, a Christian publication out of Langley that frequently publishes homophobic and transphobic content. (Lightmagazine.ca)

Vancouver Pride Society bans BC Liberals from annual parade after ad controversy

VPS threatened the ban last week if action wasn’t taken against Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness

The BC Liberals were formally notified Tuesday that they are not allowed to march in the 2020 Vancouver Pride Parade.

Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) executive director Andrea Arnot told The Chilliwack Progress of the decision made after last week’s demand that unless Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness was removed from caucus or from his role as Child Care critic, the party would not be allowed at Pride.

• READ MORE: BC Liberals barred from Vancouver Pride Parade if Chilliwack-Kent MLA isn’t ousted

The VPS decision comes after Throness declared his support for continued advertising in a Langley-based conservative Christian magazine that has run homophobic and transphobic content.

Arnot said the BC Liberals were also told “that we look forward to hearing about their accountability plan to ensure all of their caucus members understand the harms of conversion therapy, as well as, that any forms of homophobia or transphobia have no place in Canadian society, especially not with elected officials.”

The VPS demand to the BC Liberal Party came on July 16, a day after NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert similarly demanded Throness be ousted from caucus for advertising in “The Light” due to its anti-LGBTQ content.

Throness was one of 14 BC Liberal MLAs who spent a total of approximately $1,700 to advertise in the magazine. After the party was questioned about the advertising, a number of MLAs apologized, and BC Liberal Party leader Andrew Wilkinson said “there is no room in the BC Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination. Going forward, we are taking immediate steps to ensure our advertising decisions reflect those values at all times.”

Throness, however, doubled down and said the magazine aligns with his “Biblical Christian” values.

Asked to comment last week, replied “no comment” via email on July 15.

Neither BC Liberal Party executive director Emile Scheffel nor anyone from the party responded to questions about what if any action was taken regarding Throness and his comments.

The Light magazine has published articles critical of SOGI-123 in schools, one article called medically assisted dying “barbaric,” and an October 2019 piece in the same edition as a BC Liberal ad criticizes a proposed ban on conversion therapy.

• READ MORE: NDP wants Chilliwack-Kent MLA removed from BC Liberal caucus for alleged homophobia

• READ MORE: VIDEO: Liberal bill outlaws conversion therapy for kids, non-consenting adults

Conversion therapy is pseudoscientific and discredited practice that aims to turn LGBTQ people straight.

“Conversion therapy is premised on a lie, that being homosexual, lesbian, bisexual or trans is wrong and in need of fixing,” Justice Minister David Lametti said in March after tabling the bill to ban the practice in the House of Commons.

– with a file from Canadian Press


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