Members of the Law Society of New Brunswick voted against accrediting a controversial Christian law school in B.C.
At a special general meeting held on September 13, members voted 137 to 30 for council not to approve Trinity Western University's law school. The result of the vote, which is not binding, will be taken to the next council meeting.
The New Brunswick law society had previously accredited the school on June 27 after a vote of 14 to 5. However, the special meeting was held after more than 200 members signed a petition in opposition to the accreditation.
In response to the vote, TWU School of Law Executive Director Earl Phillips issued a statement in a news release: “A person’s ability to study and practise law should not be questioned because of beliefs or faith commitments. There is no evidence to suggest that the religious beliefs that guide TWU would affect the ability of its law graduates to serve all clients.”
TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold stated: "The resolution does not reflect Canada’s historic commitments to respect for diverse groups. It is disappointing that a resolution would pass that would compromise Canada's commitment to freedoms of conscience, religion, belief, expression and association."
The Christian university, based in Langley, B.C., has raised debate across the nation because it requires students to sign a covenant that prohibits sexual intimacy outside the marriage between a man and a woman. Critics have raised concerns that the convenant discriminates against same-sex relationships.
The New Brunswick vote follows in the footsteps of the B.C. law society vote.
Law societies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nunavut have all granted the university accreditation.
Ontario and Nova Scotia denied the school accreditation. The school has launched court challenges against those decisions.
The law school is slated to open in 2016. It will be the first Christian law school in Canada.