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Lesbian couple say they were denied daycare spot because of sexual orientation

Kate Taylor, left, and partner Agata Durkalec are photographed in their Winnipeg home on Thursday, April 2, 2015. The couple recently encountered homophobic discrimination while searching for daycare for their infant daughter.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
April 03, 2015 - 11:28 AM

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's attorney general says he is outraged by allegations a lesbian couple was denied a Winnipeg daycare spot for their baby girl because of their sexual orientation.

James Allum said no one in this day and age should be denied service on that grounds.

"I'm outraged that anyone would be denied access to child care on the basis of discrimination based on sexual orientation," he said Thursday. "That's simply outrageous. It's as simple as that."

Agata Durkalec and her partner, Kate Taylor, say they are filing a human rights complaint after they say they were denied a Winnipeg daycare spot for their baby girl because of their sexual orientation.

The couple moved to Winnipeg from Ontario recently and began looking for a daycare for their 10-month-old daughter.

They thought they were in luck when they found an opening at a home daycare, but allege the daycare operator withdrew the offer in writing when she found out they are lesbians.

"My heart goes out to both of you but I know where my families stand on the subject, therefore it would not be a good fit," the woman allegedly wrote to Durkalec. "I hope everything works out for you and your family."

The Canadian Press was unable to reach the daycare operator to comment on the couple's complaint.

Durkalec said she was stunned. It would be illegal for a hair salon to deny service based on sexual orientation and an unlicenced home daycare should be no different, she said.

"This is a much more critical service providing child care," she said. "They should be held to the same human rights standards as anyone else."

The couple picked up papers from the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and will be filing a complaint, Durkalec said.

Although they are no longer interested in putting their daughter in the home daycare, Durkalec said it should be made clear that any discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong.

"What would be better would be more education and clarity so that queer and trans families don't experience discrimination at any home daycare in Manitoba," she said.

Neither Allum, nor anyone from the provincial government, would comment on whether unlicenced home daycares are subject to the same anti-discrimination laws as other businesses.

Allum said the allegations would be best handled by the human rights commission.

It's a grey area that should go under a spotlight, Taylor said. Daycare spots are so difficult to find that many parents have to find unlicenced ones, she said.

"It's not a choice," she said. "If it is a grey zone then that's a conversation that needs to be had."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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