New Westminster centre cancels booking for controversial Christian LGBT youth conference

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      Numerous concerns raised about a New Westminster youth conference scheduled to address LGBT issues and religion has led to its cancellation.  

      The Get a Grip 2018 Youth Conference was scheduled to be held on July 21 and 22 at Anvil Centre and sported the theme LGBT: Let God Be True.

      One of the facilitators was social-conservative activist Kari Simpson of the right-wing group Culture Guard.

      Among its numerous campaigns that have opposed LGBT issues, Culture Guard protested the provincial government's sexual orientation and gender identity policy (SOGI 123), and held the Stop SOGI 123 Rally outside the B.C. Teachers' Federation building in Vancouver on April 23.

      The Anvil Centre, a conference centre operated by the City of New Westminster, decided to cancel the booking of the Christian youth conference on June 21 due to concerns about the subject matter, according to News 1130.

      Further concerns were raised about the logo of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) appearing on the conference's poster.

      SFU's Redeemed Christian Fellowship Club (RCF) had been involved in presenting the event and had used the SFSS logo on the poster for the event.

      After outcry on social media, the SFSS issued a statement on June 21 to explain that the Christian club did not notify the society in advance about the use of their logo, and ordered the club to remove the logo from all of the event's material.

      "While we support the right of our student club to determine and advocate for their own beliefs, we do not support any speech that is hateful, racist, or otherwise demeaning," the SFSS stated. "We will have more to say once we have had an opportunity to meet with the student leaders of the RCF club." 

      The cancellation arrives in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that addressed religious and LGBT issues also in B.C.

      On June 15, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Law Society of B.C.'s refusal to grant accreditation to a proposed law school at Langley's Christian-based Trinity Western University. The long-running controversy over TWU's law school arose over the university's covenant, which excludes LGBT people by prohibiting all sexual activity outside opposite-sex marriage. 

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