A gay man who was renting a room in Vancouver is speaking out after the owner of the home told him his boyfriend couldn't stay with him.
“I was just shocked and surprised,” said Caleb Pheloung. “This kind of behaviour is just unacceptable in 2017.”
Pheloung, who is moving to Vancouver from Australia, was renting a room in a private home for a week in the city’s Marpole neighborhood. Part of the agreement included a $10-per-night fee for a guest staying in the room with Pheloung.
"It seemed like everything was fine," he told CTV Vancouver.
But when the owner found out Pheloung planned on having his boyfriend over, she said she considers homosexuality “against God’s will.”
The owner, identified only as Jenny, sent Pheloung a series of text messages in which she wrote, “If you guys are gay, I cannot allow this to happen my house.”
Jenny declined an interview with CTV’s David Molko.
Others who live in the home, however, are taking Pheloung’s side.
“I don’t think it’s right,” said Delbert Louing, who is also renting a room in the house. “It’s an old-fashioned ideology.”
Despite Pheloung’s shock, the owner’s actions may be perfectly legal under the B.C. Human Rights Code.
Section 10 of the code states that an owner cannot deny tenancy to anyone based on their sex or sexual orientation, but that rule doesn’t apply if the tenant is sharing the space with the property owner.
“This might be an example where the law and what people think would be right are not necessarily aligned,” Elizabeth Reid, a human rights lawyer with the Boughton Law Corporation told CTV News.
Pheloung said he’s disappointed that law does not do more to protect members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination.
“It never crossed my mind,” Pheloung said. “I’ve never faced discrimination in Australia. I wouldn’t expect that I would face it in Vancouver.”
He has since found another place to stay, but hopes that sharing his story will help make a difference.
“If something like this could impact change, that would be really awesome,” he said.
Pheloung is considering filing a complaint.
In the meantime, he is asking the homeowner to reconsider her view.
“Maybe, visit a church,” he said. “Pray over it.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Breanna Karstens-Smith and David Molko