Trinity Western law school: B.C. Law Society members vote to reverse approval

Lawyers in British Columbia have voted 74 per cent in favour of reversing the law society's earlier decision to recognize graduates of Trinity Western University's School of Law.

Decision will likely be ratified by the law society's board on Friday

Members of the Law Society of B.C. voted on a resolution that declares 'the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purpose of the Law Society's admission program.' (Trinity Western University)

Members of the Law Society of British Columbia have voted 74 per cent in favour of reversing the society's earlier approval to recognize graduates of Trinity Western University's School of Law.

Victoria lawyer Michael Mulligan says more than 8,000 of the society's 13,530 members voted.

The final decision is up to the law society's board of governors, known as benchers. They are expected to ratify the decision on Friday.

"The university is disappointed with this vote”, said Trinity Western University spokesman 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."

Members of the society triggered a non-binding vote earlier this year that overturned a decision by the society's board of governors to accredit Trinity Western's new law school in the Fraser Valley.

As a result of that, in June the law society said members would vote on a resolution that declares "the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purpose of the Law Society's admission program."

The law school at the faith-based university is set to open in 2016. Critics oppose the plan because Trinity Western students must sign a Christian covenant that states sexual relations are to be confined within the bounds of a marriage between a man and a woman.

Critics say the policy is discriminatory against people in LGBTQ relationships.

The Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario has voted against approving the law school and the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society has granted conditional acceptance if the school changes the covenant for law students or allows them to opt out.

Trinity Western is legally challenging those decisions in court.

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