Judges voted 7 to 2 in favour of law societies denying accreditation to schools that discriminate against LGBTQ+ students
Trinity Western University has been involved in a number of legal disputes that stem from their implementation of a covenant agreement that is mandatory for students to sign. (Braden Klassen) On June 15, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the Law Society of B.C. and Ontario, confirming the society’s right to deny accreditation to Trinity Western University’s proposed law school due to its lack of accessibility for all students.
At the heart of the controversy is TWU’s mandatory community covenant. The covenant is a strict student code of conduct which includes abstaining from sex outside of heterosexual marriage. Many viewed this clause as discriminatory to LGBTQ+ students.
In its decision, the Supreme Court wrote that it’s “proportionate and reasonable” to limit religious rights in order to ensure open access for LGBTQ+ students. According to a CBC report , the majority judgement believed that the covenant would deter LGBTQ+ students from attending TWU’s proposed law school, and that the LGBTQ+ students who did attend would be at risk of harm.
“At the heart of the Supreme Court’s decision is a recognition of the responsibility of the Law Society to uphold the rights of all persons and to protect the public interest,” said Law Society President Miriam Kresivo in a press release.
According to Earl Phillips, the executive director of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school, the mood at the Langley-based university was somber following the decision.
“I think we’re all disappointed,” says Phillips. “And I think disappointment is the key word.”
Phillips says he’s dismayed by the “idea that diversity in Canada does not have room for a law school at a small Christian university that holds to traditional Christian values.”
He explains that there are a number of options which could be taken to change the community covenant. Before a decision is reached, however, he feels that TWU “as a community needs to take a good, long, hard look at everything.”“That’s what we’re in the process of doing,” he says.Phillips also acknowledges the hardships […]