Christopher S. M. Kempling, Psy.D. is an educator and registered clinical counsellor in British Columbia, Canada, who has become the center of a controversy concerning minority rights and freedom of speech.

Kempling's public statements and his suspensionsEdit

Kempling had been employed as a teacher and counsellor at a high school in Quesnel, British Columbia since 1990. In 1997 he began to write a series of letters to the editor of a local newspaper, the Quesnel Cariboo Observer, expressing concern over the presentation of homosexuality in school curricula. Among other things, Kempling's letters objected British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF), the union that represents teachers in British Columbia, were distributing teaching-aid literature which had been produced by the Gay and Lesbian Educators of BC, and which in his view was erroneous. He also cited various studies that he interprets as showing harm caused by what he described as the "homosexual lifestyle". Kempling, an advocate of reparative therapy, wrote:

"Sexual orientations can be changed and the success rate for those who seek help is high. My hope is students who are confused over their sexual orientation will come to see me." [1]

For these letters, Kempling was cited in May 2001 for professional misconduct by the BC College of Teachers, BCCT the body which regulates the teaching profession in British Columbia, leading to a hearing in May 2002 before the BCCT Disciplinary Committee, which ruled that Kempling’s statements were discriminatory, and therefore unacceptable. As punishment he was suspended for one month.[2] He appealed his suspension all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which finally turned it down in 2006.[1]

While his appeals were in process, Kempling was interviewed by CBC Radio in January, 2003, and made similar statements. In response to this, his school district wrote him a letter instructing him not to express his views on homosexuality in any school setting or publish them elsewhere.[3] In January, 2004, Kempling was again interviewed by CBC Radio, this time about the private counselling service that he was advertizing in Prince George, which offered therapy for gay men who want to become heterosexual. This interview became the rationale for a formal letter of reprimand from the Quesnel School District. Kempling complained to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal on the grounds that his religious freedom was being infringed, a complaint that the Tribunal rejected in November 2005.[1]

In that same year, while his case was before the Human RIghts Tribunal, Kempling became a spokesman for the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and was made that party's candidate in the Cariboo—Prince George riding during the Canadian federal election, 2006. As its spokesman, Kempling wrote another letter to the editor criticizing the recently proposed Civil Marriage Act, which would allow same-sex couples to marry. Quesnel School District suspended him for three months as a breach of its earlier direction. [2] Ironically, the Bill C-38 parliamentary committee investigating the same sex marriage bill invited Dr. Kempling to testify as an official witness in June, 2005. The Quesnel School Board initiated another disciplinary investigation in response to Kempling's parliamentary testimony, but withdrew it after MP Bill Siksay (NDP), an openly gay member of the committee, and MP Vic Toews, wrote letters expressing their concern over the school board's attempt to intimidate a witness of parliament.

Some regard Kempling's suspension as an example of how gay rights in Canada have expanded and can conflict with freedom of expression and religious freedom in Canada.[4]

Alleged rights violationsEdit

In speeches, on the radio, and in seeking to assert his rights in courts and tribunals, Kempling has argued that his treatment violated his rights to free expression because he wrote the letters on his own time, he was expressing common social conservative opinions, and there were no complaints to the school board or the BCCT from the public prior to the disciplinary action. He also said that it was a violation of his religious freedom rights as Kempling's views are based on his Christian beliefs.[2][3][5] He has stated that he is not homophobic and has "yet to meet a gay person with whom I do not get along."[6]

Kempling appealed to the courts to over-turn his suspension. The Supreme Court of British Columbia and the British Columbia Court of Appeal both upheld the BCCT disciplinary action. The BC Civil Liberties Association and the BC Public School Employers Association both intervened against Kempling in the Court of Appeal case.[2][7] Intervening on Kempling's behalf were the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Christian Teachers Association, The Christian Legal Fellowship, and the BC Teachers Federation. The BC Human Rights Tribunal denied his complaint in November, 2005.[3] The Supreme Court of Canada decided in January, 2006, that they would not hear his appeal.[8]

In a press release issued after failing to make progress at the Supreme Court of Canada, Kempling stated "It is my intention to keep on fighting by filing a formal complaint with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. While that won't affect today's court decision, it may embarrass Canada into reviewing its alleged commitment to free speech rights for religious minorities." To this end, Dr. Kempling was invited to speak at the UN Commission on Human Rights in New York City in March, 2005. The appeal to the commission is still pending[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Supreme Court rejects teacher's appeal over homosexuality issue", Calgary Herald, 29 January 2006, B5
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 BC Court of Appeal June 13 2005 Decision URL accessed on April 21 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 BC Human Rights Tribunal November 14 2005 Decision URL accessed on April 21 2006
  4. "A hard lesson in free speech: B.C. teacher taken to task for airing same-sex marriage views", Calgary Herald, 10 April 2005
  5. Letters written by Kempling hosted by the British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life website. URL accessed on April 21 2006.
  6. May 12 2003 Speech made by Kempling to the citizens of Quesnel. URL accessed on April 21 2006.
  7. "Civil liberties group tells court teacher `must constrain his public utterances'", Canadian Press, 24 April 2005
  8. "Supreme Court rejects teacher's appeal over homosexuality issue", Calgary Herald, 29 January 2006
  9. Christian Heritage Party January 27 2006 Press Release URL accessed on April 21 2006

Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Chris Kempling. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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