According to a report from The Globe and Mail, Trinity Western University received preliminary approval to open a law school. The university, located in Langley, British Columbia, bans ‘sexual intimacy’ between persons of the same sex.
The preliminary approval was granted by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada earlier this week. Despite the preliminary approval, the law school is going to face opposition from members of the LGBT community, law students, and lawyers.
Those in opposition of the law school, and the university as a whole, claim that the pledge taken by students, faculty, and staff to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” is discrimination.
When you read the pledge, it has a footnote from the bible that condemns homosexual behavior. The university claims that students who attend the school adhere to the policy when they apply.
Bob Kuhn, the university president, said that he wants to move past the debate about the pledge.
“I’m pleased that the Federation did not bow to the vocal nature of the opposition and did what we had asked them to do: Look at the facts, apply the law, analyze the program based on its merits,” Kuhn said. “We think that it does validate that a Christian university has a place in a pluralistic society.”
The law school would need to be approved by the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education and it could be subject to a legal battle. A special committee was called to hear issues about the law school at the university because of the pledge and the controversy it brings with it. The committee ruled that there is ‘no public interest reason’ to prevent graduates of the school to be admitted to the bar.
Marie-Claude Bélanger-Richard, the president of the Federation, described the university’s pledge as “a matter of conduct” and “a matter of personal choice.” She also said that it is “satisfied that [the special committee] really covered all aspects of this issue.”
“I understand that it’s a community covenant agreement that students will have to sign, but at the same time, we don’t have any evidence how the discrimination, if any, would be applied,” she said.
A criminal and civil rights lawyer from Toronto, Clayton Ruby, is the law school’s major opponent and said that a lawsuit will be filed based on Charter grounds.
“It’s a simple act of discrimination against gays and lesbians. To the extent that this school has law students, the door is closed to gay and lesbian lawyers and judges, and that is demeaning not only to them, but to all of us,” Ruby said.