a bizarre billboard appeared at the corner of Dundas West and Bloor. It reads, "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: Pride. Ezekiel 16:49." There's no reference to any group on the sign, which appeared shortly before Pride Day. A call to the company that put up the sign, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, reveals that the ad is being paid for by an anonymous couple, at a rate of $1,940 for a month.
Brian Irwin from Pattison says the company does not discriminate when it comes to political messages. "We've also done stuff with pro-choice groups, teachers groups, anyone who is willing to pay," he says.
Meanwhile, Peter White of Advertising Standards Canada says it would be premature to say whether, according to the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, the ad should be removed, since the material has to be put through a complaint process. Section 14 of the code details reasons why ads may be removed, and condoning discrimination against identifiable groups is one of them.
"It's a defamation in terms of the general message and timing, and the fact that fundamentalist groups have always been opposed to increasing recognition for gays and lesbians," says Tom Warner of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario.
Messages left at Pattison for the couple who paid for the ad were not returned.