LaBarbera detained in Canada (Updated)
April 11th, 2014
Peter LaBarbera of the ironically named Americans for Truth about Homosexuality was scheduled to participate in the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association this weekend. I’m not sure what Canadian pro-life has to do with American homosexual truth, but this event appears to be a gathering of the religiously disgruntled and The Peter definitely fits in that crowd.
After questioning me about the purpose of my scheduled presentation at the SPLA event; rifling through my luggage, which contained numerous books and literature related to homosexuality (pro and con); examining the contents of my laptop and my cell phone; playing a DVD of my speech Wednesday at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio; and critically viewing AFTAH’s website–a preliminary decision was made to deny my entrance into Canada on the basis that my speech at the SPLA would violate Canada’s “Hate Propaganda” law (essentially the potential for “public incitement of hatred” against a group of people based on their “sexual orientation”). The Orwellian experience at Customs dragged on for more than three hours as a formal document was issued outlining my denial of entry under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (citing the Hate Propaganda code). Finally, after 1:00 A.M., I was released pending my appeal of the decision today (Friday). My passport was seized until I arrive back at Customs today at noon for my appeal before a “Minister’s Delegate Review.”
I favor freedom of speech. And while I have no say in how Canadians choose to structure their society, I do hope that the US does not go down the road of silencing the voices of those who do not fit current social or political norms.
But irrespective of Canada’s laws, this was not a wise choice.
Peter LaBarbera was scheduled to go talk to people who already agree with him. And should his presentation ever reach those who were not already convinced of the evils of Teh Ghey, that can be a good thing. After a few minutes of The Peter, most decent souls feel a compulsion to wrap themselves in a rainbow flag and march for marriage equality.
This move accomplishes no real tangible advance for our community. It merely feeds the narrative that anti-gay activists are weaving about how homofascists are trying to shut them up and how True Christians are under attack. It gives a physical example to rally around. And for someone who knows nothing about the Peter, he does come across as the sympathetic character in the situation.
Already fellow travelers have taken up the cause of portraying The Peter as a victim of oppression. Over at Matt Barber’s BarbWire, Laurie Higgins is wailing about how he was “detained by the Canadian thought police who searched his luggage, computer, and phone” (though I’ll give her credit for spelling my name correctly).
And though LaBarbera’s undoubtedly elated about his ability to now wear the marty’s suit, it must have been a harrowing experience. And since then, I’m sure that he’s been bored, stuck waiting for a response to his appeal.
But fortunately The Peter brought “literature related to homosexuality” and if he’s been afforded any privacy, I’m sure that the selections from his vast collection of gay porn have been put to good use.
In his ongoing efforts to document the seedier side of gay life.
Update by Jim B: LaBarbera says they’re letting him in after all.