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

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

CRA scam the email edition targeted the Mounties in Chilliwack

Fraudsters claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency but the CRA never operates this way

COLUMN: Student voices give me hope for the future

Student Caleb Pennington wanted to know why something was taken off the agenda. So he asked.

Chilliwack newcomers celebrate multicultural community

Local Immigration Partnership helping new Canadians and refugees settle into new life

VIDEO: Rubik’s Rumble a hit at Chilliwack middle school

Students fill gymnasium for first annual tournament focusing on popular puzzle toy

VIDEO: NatureKids “critterscape” at Cheam Lake Wetlands

A group of children helped keep invasive species in check at the local park

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Horse found stuck in muddy field rescued in Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge firefighters set up a pulley system to drag the horse to solid ground

VIDEO: Two Maple Ridge contortionists have sights set on Cirque

The Pair competed at the Viva festival in Vegas and are now auditioning for spot on America’s Got Talent

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

Most Read