Bank Accused of Viewpoint Discrimination; Account Blocked for No Committee 2006, Foes of Gay Games in Canada.(NATION)(CULTURE, ET CETERA)

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Byline: Josh Earl, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Gwen Landolt doesn't want Montreal to host the Gay Games in 2006.

So Mrs. Landolt, national vice president of Real Women of Canada, joined forces with several other conservative groups to voice opposition, forming the No Committee 2006. The donations started arriving, and the committee decided to open an account with Royal Bank of Canada.

But when committee members approached RBC, the bank froze them out like a Quebec January.

The reason: the group's "stated opposition to the sexual orientation of the people who would be participating" in the Games, according to a June 18 letter from the bank.

Banks, the pillar of any economy, are not known for taking ideological stances. From Switzerland to Swaziland, whoever makes a deposit receives a bank's services, and rarely are customers refused on philosophical grounds.

But the No Committee claims it is the subject of viewpoint discrimination.

"Royal Bank is looking out for the homosexual community, but it's obvious that those people who are pro-life and pro-family don't count to them," Mrs. Landolt says.

An RBC official said the bank declined service because the No Committee was trying to keep homosexuals out of Canada. The company states that such actions violate both Canadian law and the company's nondiscrimination policy.

"It's illegal for groups to use accounts for fund raising to incite discrimination," says David Moorcroft, an RBC senior vice president. "They're trying to prevent a group of people from assembling in our free society based on their sexual orientation. You can say, 'Homosexuality is wrong.' That's different from saying, 'Homosexuals can't come to Montreal.'"

Mrs. Landolt calls the idea that her group is trying to prevent homosexuals from visiting Canada "preposterous."

"It's the Gay Games that we object to," she says, adding that the committee is concerned for public health because the Canadian government is suspending regulations to allow HIV-positive homosexuals into the country for the event.

The No Committee claims the Gay Games will promote homosexuality, "increase the incidence of AIDS" and financially drain the city.

RBC has supported events organized by homosexual groups, including the 2000 Gay Life and Style show in Toronto. …