Volume 93, Issue 9

Tuesday, September 14, 1999


Campus rec, a pain in the neck

Canada introduces the "gay clause"

O-week: on both sides of the hill

Time in line feelin' fine

Canada introduces the "gay clause"

Members of the gay community in Toronto have been given a get out of jail free card. In a move which remains void of all logic, Toronto prosecutors have dropped all charges against 19 homosexual men for having sex in a public place.

The group was charged after plain clothed officers entered a gay bar, the Bijou, on a suspicion that the club was violating liquor laws. In addition to those violations, the officers observed numerous instances of men having sex, oral and otherwise, in full view of the rest of the bar.

This, of course, is not condoned by the law. Sex in a public place, whether heterosexual, homosexual or otherwise, is against the law and is seen as public indecency.

Police in Toronto and across the country have been fighting for quite sometime to cut down on such behaviour. Bars and bathhouses which allow sexual activity, no matter the preference, in full view of patrons in their establishments have always been subject to harsh treatment from the law.

However, the public outcry did not start until the police decided to enforce the laws on bathhouses which attract gay patrons. Immediately following the arrests at the Bijou, large segments of the gay community began expressing their disdain with the officer's actions.

Protesters saw the 19 men charged as victims of discrimination and prejudice. The arrests, they said, were the result of a homophobic sentiment within the police force. They even went so far as to suggest the police were specifically targetting the gay community in their enforcement of these laws.

The disenchanted also maintained the bar was a private place and should not be treated as public.

From these arguments, a few conclusions can logically be surmised. First, if the enforcement of such laws targets gays, are we to understand having sex in public spaces is a characteristic of homosexuality? Are we now supposed to believe the stereotype driven by ignorance, that homosexuals are more promiscuous?

Worse still is the suggestion that violators of the law are somehow exempt because of their sexual preference. If the police force chooses to crack down on everyone equally, this apparently violates gay rights. Are homosexuals above the law?

The whole situation became even more asinine when prosecutors decided to drop all charges. It was then reported that previously, the police and the managers of the Bijou had struck a deal in which the law would turn a blind eye to the goings on in the bar.

The discrimination card hasn't been played with such effectiveness since O.J. Simpson was allowed to walk free.

I understand in the past, the gay community was subject to prejudice and ill-treatment by the police force and society in general. But sooner or later, homosexuals are going to have to get over this. Past actions cannot be used as evidence of current prejudice. Especially when the facts don't support those claims.

Claiming prejudice cannot be used as a scare tactic to get your own way. Much like a child, it must be taught that throwing a temper tantrum won't always get you what you want.

It's time we realize this is the '90s, not the '50s and although prejudice does still exist, society has vastly improved in the past 40 to 50 years. It's about time the whiners realized they're barking up the wrong tree. And they won't be allowed to hump that tree in public – regardless of their sexual preference.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999