Trinity Western University takes B.C. law society to court over Christian law school

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      Langley-based Trinity Western University announced on December 18 that it is launching legal action against the Law Society of British Columbia for revoking its approval of its proposed faith-based law school.

      On October 31, the law society voted to reverse the approval, and on December 11, B.C.'s advanced education minister Amrik Virk announced that the provincial government would follow suit.

      A TWU news release took issue with the reversal being based not on the academic quality of the program but on the covenant that students must agree to.

      The Christian-university's covenant only permits sexual intimacy within marriage between a man and a woman.

      “By prejudging our future law graduates not on their qualifications but the Community Covenant they agree to abide by while students at TWU, the Law Society has infringed on the human rights of TWU and its students,” TWU president Bob Kuhn argued in the news release.

      National outcry arose due to concerns that the covenant discriminates against same-sex relationships.

      Canada became the fourth country in the world, and the first outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage in 2005.

      Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon have accredited the school. Law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia voted against accrediting the school. TWU is taking legal action against those law societies as well.

      New Brunswick initially approved accreditation but its law society voted on September 13 to reverse accreditation.

      In other news, Premier Christy Clark moved Virk out of his advanced education portfolio and into the Ministry of Technology, Innovation, and Citizens' Services.  He was swapped with Andrew Wilkinson, who will take up Virk's previous position.

      The move occurred on the day that a report revealed that Virk was aware of a compensation package that did not meet government disclosure requirements.

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      12 Comments

      RUK

      Dec 19, 2014 at 10:45am

      The final judgement will be... in Heaven (folds hands together reverently)

      Good for them

      Dec 19, 2014 at 10:57am

      People are allowed to hold religious beliefs (Muslim, Christian etc), including those that do not accept same-sex marriage. I'm sure there are lawyers not affiliated with TWU who would avoid taking on cases involving same-sex marriage, based upon their religious beliefs, and I see no problem with that. Now if a medical practitioner refused to administer health care based upon sexual preference, then you would have a case, but lawyers are free to pick whomever they want, unless their employers specifically say that they cannot refuse a client.

      I personally agree with same-sex marriage and have long championed for equality for all people, but in our zest to injure people who do not hold the same beliefs we've gone way overboard. I hope TWU at least have their voices heard, even if they are not successful.

      Ronnie Lonnie Ding Dong

      Dec 19, 2014 at 12:53pm

      They'll fight to the end to set up their law school. They need a well-funded place where young right wing Christian fundamentalists can study law. In such a place, they can form those long-lasting, personal, faith-based relationships that they will carry forward into the legal sphere and which will allow them to subvert the socially liberal tendencies of the courts, including a woman's right to access safe abortion services. Think about it: what kind of study groups will these right-wing Christian law students be encouraged to form? What kind of judges will emerge from the TWU Law School class of 2020? This kind of isolated, conservative concentration of legal thought and cohort-formation is not really possible right now in Canada. Considering that the worst of the conservative forces have blithely allied themselves with the worst corporations and the worst of American politics (much as the worst of the left used to ally with the Soviet Union), a law school at TWU is bad news indeed.

      Justice?

      Dec 19, 2014 at 1:11pm

      It's kinda funny that the law society would prejudge graduates of Trinity. You would think lawyers knew better. But it's no secret that the lawyers and judges in this province are more interested in dictating their social agenda to the people of BC. Just look at how they continually go easy on criminals and don't give a damn about victims. Now they want to tell us how to think and what to believe. NO THANK YOU!!!!! Lawyers claiming the moral high ground - NOW THAT'S FUNNY. If you've ever dealt with a lawyer you know their only allegiance is to their pocketbook.

      Terry Martin

      Dec 19, 2014 at 1:53pm

      We have private jewish schools that include jewish religious principles in their curriculum , and that is never critsized , it seems that the only religious group that it is socially acceptable these days to criticize is the Christian community. Even when extremist terrorist groups that identify themselves as Muslim , it is "politically incorrect" to criticize Muslim organizations. It seems to be open season on Christian groups . Perhaps we should respect all religious groups equally , as well as all other people with different opinions and beliefs

      Well...

      Dec 19, 2014 at 2:02pm

      If justice is blind, than let's practice what we preach. If a grad from TWU wants to practice law, their personal opinion on non-hetero or cis gendered citizens should not bias their practice. They can think what they want if today's changing tides of reason won't persuade them otherwise, but my Canada includes justice for all.

      Ronnie Lonnie Ding Dong

      Dec 19, 2014 at 3:06pm

      @Well...

      Your Canada doesn't exist.

      It's been a hard, uphill struggle for the forces of progress to bring in things like a human rights code that protects people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation (1992). The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which doesn't even do that, but does protect people regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, etc from discrimination by government only came into existence in 1982.

      It's unfortunate that people are so willing to go to extreme lengths to APPEAR to play fair with those that play dirty at every single turn of the road, as is evident from the behaviour of our Conservative government. Such high, heavenly ideals!

      "Well...," practicing what is preached is the fucking problem here.

      Good for them

      Dec 19, 2014 at 3:57pm

      Some people are never going to accept same-sex marriage, just as some will never accept abortion. You can try to humiliate them on social media, marginalize them and deny them of their basic rights, but you aren't going to ban their personal thoughts.

      RUK

      Dec 19, 2014 at 9:36pm

      Let me know where the ban on personal thought law has been enacted. I'm curious about that because I belong to the evidence based community. I don't have faith in the idea and I find praying for the answer to be less useful than Angry Birds