Religion versus LGBT rights: Langley's Trinity Western University law school case goes to Supreme Court of Canada

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      A long-running national debate over religion, LGBT rights, and Canadian law is reaching its apex with a Supreme Court of Canada case.

      A hearing will be held today and tomorrow (November 30 and December 1) in Ottawa for the case of a law school to be opened by Langley's Trinity Western University (TWU).

      Arguments will be presented by TWU, the Law Society of British Columbia, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and other interveners.

      The Christian university, founded in 1962, applied to open the law school in 2012 but has faced criticism and opposition due to its covenant that defines marriage as only between a woman and a man. Opponents have argued that the covenant discriminates against LGBT people.

      TWU president Bob Kuhn stated in a news release that there hasn't been a student expelled for being LGBT.

      TWU's Earl Phillips, executive director of the proposed law school, added that the school won't rely on taxpayer funding and will offer a concentration in charity law.

      Trinity Western University

      The university has faced a long series of challenges and reversals in decisions about accreditation in provinces across Canada.

      In British Columbia, the Law Society of B.C.'s 2014 decision to accredit the school was reversed after a referendum later that year. In 2015, the B.C. Supreme Court restored accreditation and in November 2016, the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from B.C.'s law society.

      The Supreme Court case was launched after the Ontario Court of Appeal's July 2016 rejection of an appeal from the university over the Law Society of Upper Canada's 2014 decision to deny accreditation.

      Courts also ruled in favour of the university in Nova Scotia, and the school has received accreditation in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.