Claude Richmond at Law Society of BC debate on TWU law school.

Controversial Trinity Western law school wins approval

Law Society of B.C. votes 20-6 to accredit TWU after debate pitting gay rights against religious freedom

Law Society of B.C. directors voted 20-6 today to recognize Trinity Western University’s planned faith-based law school.

Opponents argued the Langley university’s community covenant prohibiting “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation against gay and lesbian law students and faculty.

“In my opinion, Trinity Western University’s community covenant is an anachronism and a throwback that wouldn’t be out of place in the 1960s,” said lawyer Cameron Ward, one of the society’s directors who voted for a motion to deny accreditation to TWU.

The law school already has approval from the provincial government to open but the law society controls who can practise as a lawyer in B.C.

Several law society directors, known as benchers, said they could not justify rejecting TWU’s grads, citing a 2001 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in favour of Trinity on religious freedom.

Miriam Kresivo, one of the society’s benchers, said she doesn’t believe the society can bar TWU “even though the covenant may be abhorrent to me.”

Others said the law society cannot presume in advance that TWU grads would act contrary to the standards of the legal profession.

“The Law Society of B.C is not a belief regulator, we are a conduct regulator,” Kamloops lawyer Ken Walker said.

“We must not trample on the rights of one group of society to satisfy the rights of another,” added bencher Claude Richmond, who also voted against the motion to deny TWU accreditation.

Some benchers who voted with the majority noted the law society could review and revoke TWU accreditation in future if it had grounds to do so.

Victoria lawyer Pinder Cheema was one of the benchers who urged TWU to revise its covenant, predicting its “offensive reputation” will otherwise follow the law school’s grads into practice.

TWU president Bob Kuhn said the decision clears the way for the new law school, which is on track to open in the fall of 2016.

“This is also an important decision for all Canadians,” Kuhn said. “It says that there is room in a democratic country like Canada for a law school at a Christian university.”

Just Posted

Langley artists lauded by country music industry

BC Country Music Association held its 42nd awards Sunday, co-hosted by Langley’s Karen Lee Batten.

Langley City Boxing wins fight to continue Clash series

The Langley City Boxing club and Coast Convention management met an agreement to continue Clash

Langley Fastball Association wins Association of the Year

Award at SoftballBC Awards Gala in Kamloops

Langley rollover crash slows traffic on 200 Street in Willoughby

Crews called to Monday afternoon collision involving two cars

VIDEO: Langley BMX racers propel pumpkins down their track

Once the standard race day was over, riders let a series of gourds roll down their Brookswood track.

‘She’s charging. Oh God’: Mama grizzly runs at B.C. man armed with shotgun

People online were quick to question – and defend – a man’s decision to shoot a grizzly bear charging him on a Bella Coola front yard

Red Sox beat Dodgers 8-4 in Game 1 of World Series

Benintendi has 4 hits as Boston cruises at Fenway

Lower Mainland boy has bike and prosthetic arm stolen

Bike has been recovered, but arm still missing

Canada announces $20M fund for women entrepreneurs

New federal program will provide up to $100,000 for female business owners to grow their operations

Vancouver Island man claims falling ice smashed his truck windshield

Man discovered volleyball-sized chunk ice on his truck Saturday, near Nanaimo, B.C.

B.C. veteran combats PTSD in the ring and on the farm

Cam Tetrault is a valuable contributor at Quesnel’s Two Rivers Boxing Club

B.C. vegan butcher to appear on Dragons’ Den

Victoria’s Very Good Butchers will star in Nov. 29 episode

Vancouver mom creates screen-free kids’ entertainment

Luna Cheng, who grew up in Langley, is one of the creators of BoredBox.

Fast ferries from B.C. spotted in Egypt

Controversial aluminum BC Ferries vessels ’big white elephants covered in dust,’ eyewitness says

Most Read