LGBTQ2S+ advocates are not backing down in their legal fight against the Sask. Party’s Parents’ Bill of Rights, submitting an amended application against the legislation on Friday evening.
“Gender diverse young people should not be forced to come out to their parents or guardians before they can be recognized and respected at school,” Adam Goldenberg, lead counsel for UR Pride said in a release.
It comes after lawyers for the provincial government said in October the previous application was moot, as the pronoun policy it was fighting was ‘rescinded’ following the bill being written into law.
“With the legislation being passed, in effect and proclaimed – the policy becomes redundant. So it has been rescinded,” Premier Scott Moe told reporters on Oct. 25. “I’m not sure how a court case would continue with no policy.”
“A court has already found that the policy, now enacted into legislation, will inflict irreparable harm on young people, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to fight it,” director of legal for Egale Bennett Jensen said.
Court documents say, “Bill 137 pre-emptively invoked the Notwithstanding Clause to declare that section 197.4 would operate notwithstanding Sections 7 and 15 of the Charter — the very Charter rights at issue in the Originating Application and which the Policy was alleged to have violated — as well as Section 2 of the Charter.”
“Despite the shocking move by the government to use the notwithstanding clause to ram through legislation that is harmful to vulnerable young people, we are not giving up on our priority to protect all trans and gender diverse students across Saskatchewan,” Jensen said.
The case’s judge granted UR Pride and its lawyers an opportunity to make new arguments against the legislation.
The amended application pleads the law violates Section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in addition to other sections listed in the former application.
Section 12 states, “everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.”
“Misgendering and dead-naming students whose parents are not supportive is cruel and unusual treatment that violates Section 12 of the Charter,” Goldenberg said.
“Our number one priority is protecting trans and gender-diverse youth,” said executive director of UR Pride Ariana Giroux. “The Government of Saskatchewan is playing politics with the lives of a particularly vulnerable population that continues to face marginalization and discrimination. We’re going to do everything in our power to ensure all young people across our province are safe.”
SASK. PARTY WILL ALSO USE ‘ALL TOOLS NECESSARY’
In an email to CTV News the province said they plan once again to also use “all tools necessary.”
“As we have always stated, our government will use all tools necessary to protect parents’ rights to be involved in their children’s education,” Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said.
“This includes defending The Parents’ Bill of Rights Act from any court challenges,” she added.
Eyre said that the majority of Saskatchewan people and Canadians are in favour of the bill.
“The majority of Canadians and Saskatchewan citizens are in favour of parental rights and do not believe that parental rights constitute ‘cruel and unusual punishment,” as UR Pride is arguing,” Eyre added.
The province said because the matter remains before the courts it will be unable to comment any further.
The next in-person hearing will begin Jan. 10 where the two sides will argue whether or not the case should continue.