GAY MONTREALER OBTAINED INSURANCE REFUND AFTER CANCELLING TOUR TO RUSSIA DUE TO HOMOPHOBIC LAW
Montreal, December 13, 2013 --- A gay Montrealer, who cancelled his trip to Russia due to that country’s “anti-gay” law, won a major battle against La Capitale, an insurance company, in what would have been the first Canadian civil rights case related to the Russian law.
Last July, K. David Brody, a gay Jewish senior and author of a gay novel, cancelled his trip to Russia when Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill that persecutes members and supporters of the LGBT community. Under this law, foreigners can be arrested, detained, fined or expelled.
Fearing for his life and security, Mr. Brody cancelled his trip for fear of his safety. Lufthansa, the airline company, accepted to reimburse most of the costs of the flight, minus a $450 penalty, but the $1,000 which he paid for the land tour in Russia was not going be refunded. The amount of his claim against La Capitale was $1,452.90.
La Capitale refused to provide him with a refund because the federal government did not issue a travel advisory not to travel to Canadians going to Russia, as required by the refund policy. Foreign Affairs Canada at the time only issued a “caution” about the new law.
With CRARR’s help, Mr. Brody issued a final claim to the company last November and prepared legal action to fight against, what he considered to be, a denial of his right to equality because of sexual orientation.
“I cannot accept your denial of my claim, which is tantamount to discrimination against your LGBT clientele and a violation of my right to the integrity and security of the person,” he wrote.
This week, he received a letter from La Capitale confirming its reimbursement, “given the circumstances motivating [his] decision not to travel to [Russia].”
“I am particularly pleased that the insurance company finally recognized my legitimate concerns for my well-being and freedom. I see its decision to reimburse me as a direct validation of my civil rights as a gay Jewish man facing an exceptionally discriminatory law in a foreign land I wanted to visit”, said Mr. Brody.
“We were prepared from the start to initiate judicial proceedings, arguing that the company's actions constituted an indirect form of discrimination against LGBT travellers to Russia,” said Matthew Chung, one of the two McGill law students who worked on the case at CRARR.
“Still, we are entirely satisfied with the outcome of the case,” said Andrew Ruban, the other law student assigned to the case. “Mr. Brody has received the equal treatment and justice he deserved.”