Christian biker challenges gay marriage rule … and loses
Kevin Kisilowsky, above, a barmy Christian biker who became marriage commissioner in Manitoba, but quit after Canada legalised same-sex marriage, has just lost a long-running discrimination case.
In September, Kevin Kisilowsky filed his case at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Winnipeg, calling for the law mandating that all marriage commissioners perform same-sex weddings be struck down. But the court ruled against him.
Kisilowsky, a Christian who performs his ministry through the Bondslave Motorcycle Club using the name Q.Tip, began trumpeting his opposition to same-sex marriage more than ten years ago.
Kisilowsky said marrying gay couples went against his religious beliefs. He also filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission but it was dismissed in 2005.
He was appointed a marriage commissioner in 2003 but he stopped in 2004 following the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that legalised same-sex marriage.
All commissioners in Manitoba are required to perform same-sex ceremonies. Unlike priests, rabbis and other religious officials, marriage commissioners perform civil ceremonies only and must follow provincial guidelines.
In her judgment delivered on Monday, Justice Karen Simonsen said Kisilowsky had other options for performing marriages including applying for a temporary marriage commissioner’s appointment, which he has done before. She ruled:
The effect of the applicant telling a same-sex couple that he cannot marry them would be significant and offensive. If the applicant were allowed to refuse to do so, other marriage commissioners may follow suit.
This could result in more rejections and difficulty for same-sex couples finding a marriage commissioner who would marry them. The difficulty could be compounded in remote or small communities where the number of marriage commissioners is small.
Simonsen added that Kisilowsky can practice his faith as he chooses:
But is simply not permitted to use his faith as a basis to refuse to marry couples whose weddings, due to religious or moral views, offend him.