A former president of the Canadian Bar Association is speaking out against a proposed law school at a private, religious university in British Columbia.
'We have said that gay marriage is to be accepted.' - lawyer Daphne Dumont
Charlottetown lawyer Daphne Dumont is concerned that Trinity Western University requires all its students to sign a pledge to only engage in sex within a heterosexual marriage.
"The Canadian Bar Association is saying that's not a good model to train lawyers," Dumont told CBC News, "one of the curriculum elements being the operation of the Charter of Rights in Canada, where we have said that gay marriage is to be accepted."
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has given preliminary approval for Trinity Western to operate a law school, but court challenges are now under way in Ontario and Nova Scotia. It's likely the Supreme Court will make the final decision in this case.
The university faced a similar challenge a few years ago when it started a teachers education program. Trinity Western argued it should be allowed because of religious freedom under the charter.
"The Supreme Court of Canada dealt conclusively with the question of whether or not TWU's Community Covenant was lawful, an 8-1 decision in favour of Trinity Western," the university told CBC News in an email.
"The Court ruled that TWU students have a right to be educated in the environment characterized by the Community Covenant, and noted that TWU contributes to the diversity of university education in Canada."
Dumont believes training lawyers is different, because it is part of their job to defend the charter.