British Columbia will become the third province to reject accreditation of a controversial, faith-based law school based in Langley.
Law Society of B.C. members voted 5,951 for (74 percent) to 2,088 against (26 percent) reversing the society's previous approval of accrediting Trinity Western University's proposed law school. Almost 60 percent of the society's members (8,039 of the society's 13,530 members) voted.
The law society's board of governors are expected ratify the decision on Friday (October 31).
The Christian university's law school was originally accredited in B.C. on April 11. A non-binding vote was held by the B.C. law society in June in which members voted 3,210 to 968 to recommend that benchers reverse the accreditation.
“The University is disappointed with this vote”, TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold stated in a news release. “Trinity Western believes in diversity and the rights of all Canadians to their personal beliefs and values. A person’s ability to study and practise the law should not be restricted by their faith."
The school has been the subject of debate because it requires all students to sign a covenant that bans all intimacy outside opposite-sex marriage.
Criticism arose due to concerns of discrimination against same-sex relationships.
Law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia voted against approval. The university is appealing those decisions in court. Like B.C., New Brunswick initially approved the school but its members triggered a non-binding vote on September 13 to reverse the accreditation.
The private law school was scheduled to open in 2016. However, after the B.C. vote, university president Bob Kuhn told the CBC that he's now uncertain if it will open by that date as planned.