Trinity Western law school future in doubt after B.C. Law Society rejection
Law society members voted 74 per cent to overturn earlier approval of faith-based law school
The president of Trinity Western University says he is uncertain if the new law school will open as scheduled in 2016 following the recent vote by the B.C. Law Society members to reject the faith-based institution.
TWU president Bob Kuhn expressed his frustration with the recent vote as he left a ratification meeting at the law society on Friday morning.
"They had to choose between the principles upon which they made the initial decision and the popularity of that decision among lawyers in the province," says Kuhn.
"We're disappointed of course they chose the latter. But that's the reality of people in an elected position."
British Columbia is now the third province, after Ontario and Nova Scotia, to officially reject the university's law school.
Kuhn says it's not clear whether the Christian university will move ahead with its 2016 opening date, and the school will decide in the coming weeks whether to file a judicial review.
The board members of the B.C. Law Society voted 25 to one with four abstentions to ratify the results of a referendum announced yesterday rejecting the accreditation of a Trinity Western University's law school.
More than 8,000 of the society's 13,530 members voted earlier this month in a special referendum to overturn the board's decision earlier this year to accredit the faith-based law school.
Critics oppose the new law school's accreditation 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.
Victoria lawyer Michael Mulligan, whose petition triggered two law society referendum on the issue, says the school's policy is discriminatory against people in LGBTQ relationships.
"The policies of this university are inconsistent with core values of legal profession insofar that this university continues to dispel or expel students for their private sexual activities," said Mulligan.
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 but only if the school changes the covenant for law students or allows them to opt out.
Trinity Western is legally challenging those decisions in court, arguing they have a right to religious freedom.
With files from Farrah Merali