Gay/Lesbian Bookstore Seeks Government Funding for Lawsuit

Michael Hayes
VANCOUVER, Canada — The Supreme Court of Canada will withhold judgment in a case that could have far-reaching implications for Canadian porn fans.

The Little Sisters bookstore, which specializes in gay/lesbian material, brought suit against Canadian Customs officials for unfairly denying its importation of pornography in 2000. The store won that case, but is once again suing the government on the same claim, arguing that Customs officials continue to unfairly discriminate against the store.

But this time the case has a twist. The store wants the Canadian government to fund the lawsuit. Whether the Canadian government will spring for up to $1 million of legal fees remains an open question.

In 2004, a British Columbia Judge ordered the government to pay the bookstore’s legal costs, but that decision was later reversed by an appellate court. In November 2005, the Canadian Supreme Court granted the store permission to continue its appeal for government funding. Without comment, the Supreme Court has now reserved judgment in the case, leaving the bookstore in legal limbo.

In the 2000 case, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) intervened on the bookstore’s behalf, arguing that homosexual erotica plays an important role in creating a positive self-image to gays and lesbians.