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Saskatchewan Requests Stay on Pronoun Case Decision by Appeals Court

The Saskatchewan government is moving to seek a stay of proceedings and appeal a court ruling that allows a lawsuit against its pronoun policy to move forward, as reported by the parties involved in the case.

UR Pride, an LGBT peer-to-peer support group, filed the lawsuit in August 2023 following the government’s announcement of a policy requiring schools to obtain parental consent before students under 16 could change their names or pronouns.

An injunction against the policy was issued by the court on September 28, 2023. Despite this, the provincial government employed the notwithstanding clause and enacted the policy into law.

On February 16, Court of King’s Bench Justice Michael Megaw ruled that the case against the policy could proceed, despite the government’s actions.

Bennett Jensen, legal director for Egale Canada and co-counsel for the case, stated in an email to The Epoch Times, “Unfortunately, the Government of Saskatchewan has indicated its intention to seek permission to appeal the February 16th decision of Justice Megaw, allowing UR Pride’s challenge of Bill 137 to proceed.”

Mr. Jensen also noted that the government is seeking a stay of proceedings, but he emphasized the necessity for the case to move forward.

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“The Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench has already determined that the government’s pronoun policy (now law) will cause irreparable harm to vulnerable youth,” the email stated. “In response to this ruling, the government used the notwithstanding clause to curtail the rights of gender-diverse students. The Court has once again ruled in our favor — the case must proceed.”

The Epoch Times attempted to reach out to the government but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Mr. Jensen stated that the group will challenge the government’s request for permission and stay of proceedings.

The plaintiffs argue that the policy proposed in August 2023 infringed on students’ charter rights, particularly the right to life, liberty, security of the person, and equality.

However, with the notwithstanding clause invoked, no legal action can be taken against amendments to the Education Act claiming they violate freedom of expression, association, conscience, religion, peaceful assembly, or Section 7 of the Charter concerning life, liberty, and security of the person.

UR Pride aims to contest the legislation based on Section 12 of the Charter, which prohibits “cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.”

Premier Scott Moe has emphasized the importance of the changes in protecting parental rights in the province.

“The default position should never be to keep a child’s information from their parents,” Mr. Moe wrote on social media in September 2023. “It is in the best interest of children to ensure parents are included in their children’s education, in their classrooms, and in all important decisions involving their children.”

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

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