Liberal leader needs to address homophobia: gay NDP candidate

Wilkinson says party embraces diversity, has gay, lesbian family members

Spencer Chandra Herbert. Photo by Chung Chow

An openly gay incumbent NDP MLA has slammed Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson for refusing to admonish allegedly homophobic candidates in his party.

“British Columbians wants to have leaders that stand up, leaders that believe LGBTQ people should . . . not be the target of bullies,” Vancouver West End incumbent Spencer Chandra Herbert said.

Wilkinson has been asked repeatedly by media about Chilliwack-Kent incumbent Laurie Throness and Langley East candidate Margaret Kunst.

Langley Township councillor Kunst is under fire after voting against a rainbow crosswalk in her community.

Throness has long been criticized for alleged anti-LGBTQ comments, the latest being his defence of so-called conversion therapy. That’s the practice of forcing someone to undergo therapy to change sexual orientation or gender identity.

In June, PressProgress reported that Liberal MLAs were billing taxpayers to run ads in The Light Magazine, which bills itself as a “Christian community/lifestyle” publication. The magazine speaks out against abortion and pornography, as well as bans on conversion therapy.

Some 14 Liberal MLAs filed expense claims for more than $1,700 on ads in the Langley-based publication in an 18-month period.

Chandra Herbert called the therapy one “which harms LGBTQ people that’s been widely discredited.”

In July, the Vancouver Pride Society warned the Liberal Party it would be banned from its pandemic virtual parade if no action was taken to sanction Throness.

Wilkinson has been pressed on the issue several times as the election campaign progressed.

He has reiterated each time that there is no room for discrimination in the party, and that he has gay and lesbian family members.

“This is a party that embraces diversity in British Columbia,” he said Oct. 7.

Chandra Herbert isn’t buying it.

“Andrew Wilkinson needs to answer for this,” he said. “And I’m calling for him to do the right thing, to stand with British Columbians for human rights instead of a small minority who back homophobia.”

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

@jhainsw