Published In

Dalhousie Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date



Religion; Sexual orientation; Constitutional law; Citizenship; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms


Competing claims for legal protection based on religion and on sexual orientation have arisen fairly frequently in Canada in the past decade or so. The authors place such competitions into five categories based on the nature of who is making the claim and who is impacted, the site of the competition, and the extent to which the usual legal and constitutional norms applicable are affected. Three of the five categories identified involve a claim that a religion operate in some form in the public area so as to impinge on the usual protection of equality on the basis of sexual orientation. The authors examine the basis of claims for such religion based exceptionalism and argue that acceptance of the religion claim in these three public-area categories would involve unjustifiable curtailment of citizenship for queer people and could undermine the equality gains that have been made by this group.