According to a report by the CBC, the former pastor of a Baptist Church in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada is suing the church after allegedly being fired for coming out as trans.
Rev Junia Joplin was presenting as male when hired by Lorne Park Baptist Church in 2014. However, that changed in June 2020, when during an online service, Joplin came out as a transgender female.
The lawsuit alleges that a few days later, Joplin was suspended and then fired by the congregation after a series of online meetings with church members in July 2020.
In the vote that followed, 58 of the church’s 111 members voted to dismiss Joplin, with at least 50 of them citing Biblical reasons for the dismissal.
Though some Baptist denominations do not allow women to serve as pastors, this is not the case for the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec denomination that apparently has allowed female pastors for several decades.
Joplin is suing the church, alleging she was discriminated against because of her trans sexual identity.
Joplin, who is seeking $200,000, alleges her firing was a violation of Canada’s Human Rights Code that does not allow discrimination based on either gender identity or expression.
However, the code does allow for religious organizations to hire people based on religious creed, and Lorne Baptist Church believes the exemption applies in this instance.
Joplin’s lawsuit alleges that the exemption violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, the same charter also guarantees Freedom of Religion.