A B.C. university that hopes to open the country’s first faith-based law school has become the latest battleground between religious freedom and equality rights.
Over a thousand students from eight Canadian law schools have signed letters protesting the efforts by Trinity Western University, a private Christian institution in Langley, B.C., to open a law school, claiming the university’s policies discriminate against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community.
The letter petition asks the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology to reject the accreditation of TWU’s proposed law school, claiming parts of the university’s student handbook infringe on the rights of LGBT students, faculty and staff.
The petitioners are concerned with the university’s conduct expectations, outlined in the handbook in a document called Community Covenant Agreement. It contains a clause that requires community members to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”
If a student fails to comply with the agreement after signing it, the university “reserves the right to discipline, dismiss, or refuse a student’s re-admission to the University,” according to the handbook.
“This discriminatory policy really does not represent Canadian law. I think it definitely does offer a less welcoming environment for LGBT students to attend [TWU],” said Christopher Ghesquiere, one of the organizers of the letter petition and a representative of OUTlaw, a group the represents LGBT students at the University of Alberta, in an interview with CBC Radio.
“I feel a law school should propagate the values of Canadian law, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Despite the fact that the law recognizes same-sex marriages, the school seems not to.”
This article is a few months old. It was in another news article below that was published a few days ago, but the journalistic quality is much worse:
In the interest of providing enough information for a good discussion, here is the university’s FAQ about this issue: