American sex-educator Sol Gordon has lost his libel case against Gay Caswell, (MLA, Saskatoon Westmount) in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon.
In dismissing Gordon’s claim, the judge ordered that court costs be paid by him. Caswell’s co-counsel Len Andrychuck stated that the award will not cover the full legal bill incurred by his client.
Caswell is pleased, although not surprised at the decision, which she sees as a vindication of the rights of the ordinary person to protest the misuse of public funds. She says the case will confirm in the public mind what Planned Parenthood is all about and will encourage more parents to speak out.
Gordon, on the other hand, is quoted in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix of May 15 as saying, “It is a great threat to democracy in Canada and a step backward for the great tradition of Canadian civil liberties.”
In 1982, Caswell – at that time a private citizen – wrote to Saskatoon City Council protesting taxpayers’ money being used to fund Gordon’s engagements in the city to discuss teenage pregnancy.
Gordon, professor of child and family studies at Syracuse University, is the author of the Planned-Parenthood Sex Comix series and was a consultant on the Planned-Parenthood movie, About Sex. In her letter to City Council, Caswell noted that Gordon had been called a pornographer and a promoter of sexual activity among teens. As a signatory of the Humanist Manifesto II, his philosophy is not that of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Caswell had taken the information in her letter on Gordon and on Planned Parenthood from material published in the Toronto Right to Life News. Gordon obtained a copy of this letter to Council and instituted his court case against Caswell.
He argued that she had taken, and attributed as direct quotes to him, material that was out of context. Caswell maintained that the quotations were not taken out of context and that they are an accurate representation of Gordon’s views.
Mr. Justice P.J Dielschneider ruled that a right-thinking member of society could extract from Gordon’s writings the same message that Caswell did in her letter to Council.