hi-trinity-western-852-twu

Trinity Western University's law program has been accredited by the New Brunswick Law Society. (Trinity Western University)

The council of the Law Society of New Brunswick voted Friday to accredit the law program at Trinity Western University, the British Columbia institution that critics say discriminates against gays and lesbians.

Trinity Western requires students to sign a covenant prohibiting sex, except within a marriage between a man a woman. 

In a news release, the Law Society of New Brunswick says it recognizes both the right to sexual orientation and freedom of religion. In accrediting Trinity Western, the law society notes all students articling in New Brunswick must go through law society training and evaluation.

"This includes the core aspects of professional responsibility, including non-discrimination," the statement says. "As well, the law society requires that lawyers not discriminate in their professional duties."

Trinity Western bills itself as the largest independent Christian liberal arts institution in Canada.

Critics of the school say the covenant discriminates against gays and lesbians and essentially bars anyone in a gay relationship from enrolling at the school.

The decision by the Law Society of New Brunswick to accept students from the university means it joins law societies in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut, and Newfoundland and Labrador, which have done the same.

Ontario's Law Society of Upper Canada voted in April against accrediting Trinity’s law school. The Nova Scotia Barristers Society says it will only accept articling students from the school if Trinity changes the covenant for law students, or allows them to opt out.

Trinity Western has launched lawsuits against the two law societies and says the decisions are a threat to religious freedom.