Trinity Western University aims to open its faith-based law school in 2016.

B.C. lawyers vote to overturn Christian law school recognition

Referendum goes against Langley's Trinity Western University over covenant limiting sex to traditional marriage

B.C. lawyers have voted 74 per cent against recognizing Trinity Western University’s proposed law school for the Law Society of B.C.’s admissions program.

The law school has been controversial because the Langley Christian university’s community covenant bans sex outside of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Critics say that discriminates against gays and lesbians.

The Law Society of B.C.’s board of governors voted 25-1 Friday with four abstentions to uphold the referendum outcome and rescind their previously granted accreditation of TWU’s law school.

A total of 5,951 lawyers voted in favour of the declaration against the faith-based law school in the referendum, while 2,088 were against it.

The mail-in ballot required a minimum one-third participation of the 13,530 practising, non-practising and retired lawyers who were eligible, and a two-thirds majority to pass.

The referendum was ordered after thousands of lawyers demanded the law profession’s regulatory body reconsider its earlier decision.

“It is a proud day to be a lawyer,” said lesbian lawyer Barbara Findlay, who said the covenant promising not to have sex outside heterosexual marriage discriminates not just against homosexual couples, but heterosexual common-law couples as well.

“Respect for equality is a foundation principle of the rule of law and should be a foundation principle of the legal profession,” lawyer Michael Mulligan said.

The law school was approved by the provincial government in late 2013 but the law society controls who can practise as a lawyer in B.C.

Asked if the province may now reverse its approval, Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk said he will give the law society’s decision “due consideration.”

Virk’s earlier approval followed the recommendation of the Degree Quality Assessment Board and the preliminary approval of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.

The law school was to open in the fall of 2016.

“The University is disappointed with this vote”, said TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold. “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.”

TWU’s law school is also being blocked by law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia and the university has mounted court challenges that could end up before the Supreme Court of Canada.

TWU previously won a Supreme Court of Canada victory in 2001 on grounds of religious freedom over its faith-based teacher training program, which the B.C. College of Teachers had refused to recognize.

Just Posted

Downtown Victoria sees 10-fold increase in condo units since 2016

A report by the Downtown Victoria Business Association details ongoing construction trends

Saanich farm hosts birthday party as wetland turns 10

The Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project invites community to 10th birthday for wetland

Soul Shakers kick off free outdoor concerts in Oak Bay

Music fills the air at Willows Beach Park for series of concerts this summer

Sunset Cinema brings free family film under the stars in Colwood

Sunset Cinema hosts events on the Island from July 23 to 27

International migration drives population rise in B.C.

No joke, provincial population topped 5 million by April 1

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

PHOTO: Moose cow and calf relax in Williams Lake flower garden

The homeowners got a surprise when they checked their most recent surveillance footage

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

The world’s Indigenous speakers gather in B.C.’s capital to revitalize languages

Organizers estimate about 1,000 delegates from 20 countries will be at the conference

Join talks on international treaty: B.C. First Nations mark ‘historic moment’

Representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations participated

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Most Read