The 519, an LGBTQ charity in Toronto’s gay village, organized what they call an “Army of Lovers” to combat protesters who describe themselves as Christian free-speech advocates.
Last week BlogTO reported that the Christian group Christian Positive Space was planning to march down Church street because of the religious meaning behind the word “church” and its significance to the Christian faith. This plan came shortly after a previous incident where an altercation broke out after the founder of the group, Pastor David Lynn, along with other members of religious groups, preached Christian values into a microphone at the community. A counter-protest group then showed up causing a massive confrontation between both groups and resulted in Lynn later being arrested for disturbing the peace.
Chanting “Love, not hate, makes our city great!”, The Army of Lovers stood across the street from the Christian protesters who overtime became noticeably subdued.
While Christian Positive Space argues that they are simply protesting because they disagree with many of the lifestyle choices of the LGBT community, The 519 says that the Christian group is anti-gay and the protest was stemmed as a result of the previous confrontation and anti-gay worldviews. Mayor John Tory was in attendance, supporting the 519 and the LGBTQ communiting, stating that it was important to show opposition to the group and fight to maintain the sense of inclusion in the city.
“Every single time there’s somebody who wants to threaten the sense of inclusion, the sense of support, the sense of embracing, the sense of unity that we’re trying to bring about in this, the most diverse city in the world, that you stand up and say no.” – Mayor John Tory
“When there is a threat, when there are people our promoting division and polarization and stigmatization against the LGBTQ community or anybody else, I think it’s my job to stand up and say no, that’s not the way we live here, that’s not what we’re about in Toronto,” said Tory.