Rocco Rossi Campaign for Mayor

Rocco Rossi Campaign for Mayor

August 25, 2010 11:23 ET

Rossi Defends Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

Toronto mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi has issued the following comment regarding a confrontation between residents and members of a church group Sunday evening in Leslieville.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 25, 2010) - People of faith have enriched Toronto. They put their faith into action. They make our city more compassionate and caring.

People of faith have every right to practise their faith in public, so long as they do so legally.

Last Sunday evening, members of Highfield Road Baptist Church were on a public street doing exactly that.

An altercation occurred between the church group and some residents in the neighbourhood.

An allegation has been made by one resident that church members focused their prayers on a house apparently owned by a gay couple, who were not home at the time.

Other residents, and several members of the church, have denied this was the case.

The incident ended with church members being asked to stop their lawful activities and being made to feel unwelcome in a community they have served for more than 70 years.

I believe this is a very slippery slope.

Toronto is the most diverse city on earth.

We cannot shut our ears to different opinions.

We must open our ears and our eyes to the variety of beliefs and lifestyles that have come here to live in peace.

I want Torontonians to know that when I am mayor, I will stand up for their beliefs.

I stood up for Pride. I marched and sang and rallied for hours on end.

My support for gay rights is clear and on the record.

And when I'm mayor, I'll stand up for faith.

When I'm mayor, people will never have to apologize for what they believe.

And when I'm mayor, people will never have to apologize for their sexual orientation.

So far as I know the other night, no laws were broken and people dispersed peacefully.

It was a minor incident on a small street in the east end.

But it has major implications for every street in our city.

The motto of our city is "Diversity is our Strength."

We are a city of immigrants, of different beliefs, colours and sexual orientations. Living together and accepting one another is key to our prosperity. Recognizing everyone's right to assemble and gather peacefully is key to our living together in harmony.

That's how we will co-exist in this city when I'm mayor.

By sharing rights - - Not taking them away.

ROCCO ROSSI SUMMER MAYORATHON
JULY 1 - AUGUST 31
RUNNING FOR REAL CHANGE

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