UPDATE: Upon Appeal, Antigay Activist Enters Canada
BY Sunnivie Brydum
April 11 2014 1:40 PM ET UPDATED: April 11 2014 5:20 PM ET
Noted antigay activist and leader of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Peter LaBarbera, was not allowed to enter Canada on Thursday because of the country's prohibition on spreading hate speech and misinformation, according to Raw Story. But according to Canadian news outlet the Weyburn Review, the antigay pundit was allowed to enter the country on Friday after appealing his initial rejection.
The always-prolific LaBarbera celebrated the reversed decision in a tweet Friday afternoon, announcing "Canadian customs officials reverse earlier dec. + let me stay in country to give my speech on Saturday. Win for true tolerance + diversity."
LaBarbera is in Canada to speak at an anti-abortion conference in Weyburn this weekend, but was initially refused entry at the Regina airport Thursday after Canadian border security officials went through his luggage, laptop, and cellphone, reviewing content of LaBarbera's antigay addresses.
In a post on his antigay organization's Website, LaBarbera claimed his inability to enter Canada was the "result of a campaign by the leftist group 'Intolerance Free Weyburn,' which is specifically lobbying the Canadian government to deny my entry into Canada as the alleged 'purveyor of hate.'" That progressive group had scheduled demonstrations at the Weyburn conference, according to Canada's Post Media News.
After bemoaning the "Orwellian" experience of being detained at the border for more than three hours Thursday night, LaBarbera tweeted on Friday that customs agents told him he was detained based on "'unsubstantiated allegations' to apply 'hate propaganda' law" to himself and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
The annual convention of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association is scheduled to take place April 11 and 12, and LaBarbera is slated to speak on Saturday about the supposed connections between what he calls the "pro-abortion and the gay agendas," according to Raw Story. It appears that LaBarbera's Saturday address will continue as scheduled, though Intolerance Free Weyburn has also scheduled protests prior to and during the conference.
Canada's ban on "hate propaganda" and speech that "incites hatred against an identifiable group" was enacted in 1970, and prohibits any communication — through speeches, pamphlets, telephone calls, broadcast, or any publicly visible medium — " that willfully promote[s] hatred against an identifiable group."
LaBarbera's anti-LGBT rhetoric has long earned him and his organization a place on infamous lists of homophobes, including the Southern Poverty Law Center's 2010 list of antigay hate groups, and GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project.
It's been a rough week for LaBarbera, who has earned the nickname "Porno Pete" among LGBT activists for the sizable collection of gay male pornography he reportedly maintains for "research" purposes. On Wednesday, a group of students at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, initially packed a conference room where LaBarbera was scheduled to give a talk titled "What 'Gay' Activists Don't Want You To Know," only to have the students, led by a professor, silently stand up and leave the room when LaBarbera began speaking. Jeremy Hooper at Good As You reports the novel form of protest was intended to give LaBarbera a false sense of satisfaction, before demonstrating what the students thought of the right-winger's antigay views by voting with their feet.