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

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

Special weather statement issued for Fraser Valley as first summer heat arrives June 20, 2021, and set to persist all week. (Photo by James Day on Unsplash)
Second day of hot temperatures rippling across Fraser Valley

Communities from Abbotsford to Hope will see daytime high maximum temps of 32 degrees

A t-shirt designed by Coast Salish artist Bonny Graham (B. Wyse) includes the phrase ‘every child matters’ in a custom font inspired by Coast Salish design.
Chilliwack FC works with Stó:lō Nation Chiefs Council on t-shirt fundraiser

The youth soccer organization will sell custom-designed orange shirts, donating proceeds to the SNCC

Wilma’s Transition House Charity Golf Tournament takes place Aug. 21, 2021.
Buzz building for 2021 Wilma’s Transition House Charity Golf Tournament

The key fundraiser for the non-profit will be held Aug. 21 at the Cultus Lake Golf Course

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 following an assault. (File photo)
Trial underway in February 2020 death of White Rock senior

Ross Banner charged with manslaughter following Five Corners altercation

Most Read