Surprised KenN hasn't been all over this.
Short version…..TWU policy of only allowing heterosexual activity at the school goes against our discrimination laws. Ontario, NS, and now BC lawyers are not amused.
More than twice the required number of signatures have been gathered to force the Law Society of B.C. to hold another vote in an attempt to withdraw approval of Trinity Western Universitys law school, a Victoria lawyer said Thursday.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive, said Michael Mulligan, who said 1,303 written requests were collected in less than a week. It was well above the 650 votes needed to call a special general meeting to reconsider the approval, he said.
I had an email yesterday from the president of the law society confirming that we had met the requirements to compel the special general meeting, said Mulligan. Weve met the requirements, theyve confirmed it, so the vote will take place.
This move comes as Ontarios law society voted Thursday to deny graduates of the Christian universitys planned law school which bans homosexual activity among students and faculty the right to practise in Ontario.
Many members of the Law Society of Upper Canadas board of directors condemned the policy as abhorrent, though several said they would still vote in favour of allowing graduates to practise in Ontario. Ultimately there were 28 votes against accreditation to 21 in favour.
Earlier this month, the benchers (as directors are called) of B.C.s law society voted 20-6 to allow the new law school.
Mulligan said the law society approved the application despite the universitys covenant that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. TWU requires that students and staff sign a Community Covenant including a provision prohibiting sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.
The new vote must be held within 60 days, Mulligan said, noting that if the members vote in favour of directing the benchers to deny accreditation to the law school, the benchers will then have 12 months to implement the resolution. If they were so bold as to fail to implement a resolution like that from the membership, theres then a process for a binding referendum to force them to do that.
A petition has also been filed in B.C. Supreme Court by openly gay Vancouver park board commissioner Trevor Loke after Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk approved the new school.
Mulligan praised the Ontario decision. Im hopeful well be able to get the B.C. law society on the right side of history here and get us on track in the same way the Law Society of Upper Canada resolved the issue today.
Trinity Western president Bob Kuhn appealed to the Law Society of Upper Canada to avoid penalizing his students for their beliefs as it would signal to millions of Canadians with religious views that they are not welcome in the public marketplace, he said.
But Lawyer John Campion in his submission dismissed Kuhns pitch that the issue is one of freedom of religion.
Anyone is free to go to the school, he said, but its policies are discriminatory and contrary to public policy in Ontario, where gay marriage is embraced and common-law relationships are recognized.
I dont think we should take even a millimetre step backwards, Campion said. We cant do it. All that work and all that trouble and all that pain and were going to take one little step backwards? I say no.
Lawyer Christopher Bredt, who voted for the schools accreditation, said the Trinity Western covenant conflicts with his personal views, but the decision must be based on the law.
There is no suggestion that the graduates of TWU are any more likely to discriminate than graduates of any other Canadian law school.
Kuhn touted his graduates achievements and said they are particularly engaged members of the community.
Its not a university of bigotry or a university of intolerance, he said. Its a university the students leave saying, I love this place.