Terri-Jean Bedford gestures while leaving the Supreme Court of Canada following a hearing on the country's prostitution laws, in Ottawa June 13, 2013. Bedford is one of three sex workers at the centre of the case. Chris Wattie/Reuters
The Supreme Court of Canada today struck down the country's anti-prostitution laws and gave Parliament one year to develop new legislation surrounding sex work if it so chooses — a decision applauded by some but criticized by others.
Here's some of the reaction:
"I am shocked and amazed that sex work and the sex work laws that affect our lives on a daily basis will within a year not cause us harm any more." – Amy Lebovitch, sex-trade worker
"It's a huge victory for all the people in Vancouver, all my sisters out there who are going to be safe. It's just a huge, huge victory. I'm so happy." – Lorna Bird, Sex Workers United Against Violence
"Now the government must tell Canadians, all consenting adults, what we can and cannot do in the privacy of our home for money or not. And they must write laws that are fair." – Terri-Jean Bedford, sex-trade worker
"The sky's not going to fall in. People said that when women got the right to vote, equal pay, equal rights, and same sex marriage — all of those things, every single one, people said the sky would fall in. It did not. Society is the better for it and society will be the better for sex workers having proper civil and occupational rights." – Valerie Scott, sex-trade worker
"It's very important to understand ... this is one of the most under-enforced laws in the Canadian Criminal Code. And the fact that people are crying that the law's been invalidated don't understand that the law's been ineffective and largely just used in a discriminatory way." – Alan Young, lead counsel
"It's a sad day that we've now had confirmed that it's OK to buy and sell women and girls in this country. I think generations to come — our daughters, their granddaughters and on — will look back and say, 'What were they thinking?'" –Kim Pate, executive director, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
"What we are hoping for, what my clients are hoping for, is that we will take this judgment and the federal government will recognize that the criminal law does not have a role in regulating consensual adult sex work and that we need to move into a new framework that takes health, safety, human rights and looks at this as an occupational health and safety issue." – Katrina Pacey, Pivot Legal Society
"If there's no replacement legislative scheme, then it's open season in regard to prostitution." – Don Hutchinson, vice-president and general legal counsel, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
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