There has been a lot of ink spilled since the B.C. Law Society’s decision to accredit the law school of Trinity Western University. Many authors have spoken out against this decision to permit Trinity Western to discriminate against law school applicants on the basis of their sexual orientation. Below are, in my opinion, the best statements that have been made in regards to this controversy and the corresponding links to the original article. For those who are interested in understanding legal issue involved, I highly recommend reading these articles.

Commentary on TWU Accreditation 

  • TWU supporters have levelled illogical and misleading criticisms at their opponents – Douglas Judson, in the National Magazine
  • TWU invokes Canada’s pluralistic society to justify discrimination – Douglas Judson, in the National Magazine
  • [T]he pro-TWU response to the law societies’ decisions is disingenuous. There is no assault on religious freedom – Douglas Judson, in the National Magazine
  • By any standard legal definition, the covenant is discriminatory – Emma Cunliffe, Associate Professor at UBC Faculty of Law, in the Vancouver Sun
  • Where TWU over-reaches is by claiming the covenant is simply an expression of religious belief. The covenant is coercive, not because it reflects the religious beliefs of some individuals, but because TWU claims the power to discipline or expel community members who act in a manner that is contrary to the covenant – Emma Cunliffe, Associate Professor at UBC Faculty of Law, in the Vancouver Sun 
  • Although TWU claims the law societies have sent a message that “you cannot hold religious values and also participate fully in public life,” the law societies’ decisions have little to do with individuals’ religious values. Nor do they prevent those who hold TWU’s religious values from studying or practising law. In reality, the law societies have recognized the coerciveness of a covenant that compels individuals to live according to a discriminatory moral code regardless of their true beliefs – Emma Cunliffe, Associate Professor at UBC Faculty of Law, in the Vancouver Sun 
  • To licence graduates from a Canadian law school, which makes it clear that they require all students to sign a covenant which has no bearing on whether a person is a good candidate to practice law, and which at its heart discriminates against a discrete and identifiable portion of our population for being who they are, means that the legal profession condones discrimination from the highest echelons of our professional institutionsDietz, Fearon, Hamilton, McCubbin, and Yee, in the Georgia Straight
  • We should be able to trust that law societies will protect applicants who are not heterosexual Christians in the same way that we expect them to protect applicants from being refused entry on the basis of colour, sex or religion – Dietz, Fearon, Hamilton, McCubbin, and Yee, in the Georgia Straight
  • It is also not the case that future graduates of Trinity Western’s law school would be barred from practicing in Ontario or Nova Scotia because of their religious beliefs. They would be denied entry because they graduated from an unaccredited law schoolKimberly Potter, in the Toronto Star 
  • Trinity Western, in turn, has not been denied accreditation because it is a faith-based school, but because requiring its members to adhere to the Community Covenant discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. As an institution, and not an individual, Trinity Western does not have religious rights – Kimberly Potter, in the Toronto Star
  • As the adage goes, “the right to swing my arm ends where my neighbour’s nose begins.” Religious accommodation must have its limits – Kimberly Potter, in the Toronto Star
  • The members of Trinity Western have the right to their religious beliefs. They have a right if they want to … try to persuade students that something’s wrong with homosexuality. They’re entitled to do that. But this is a government decision, and the government is not entitled … to approve that viewKarey Brooks, Reported in the Vancouver Sun 
  • Being gay is not a “lifestyle” choice like choosing what food you eat or what shirt you put on in the morning. It is, in the words of the Supreme Court, “a personal characteristic that is immutable or changeable only at unacceptable cost to personal identity.”Clayton Ruby & Gerald Chan, in the National Post
  • [JK]’s solution is to tell homosexual students to go to one of the other law schools. That is precisely what Jews were told in the 1940s and 1950s. Stick to your own kind. It is appalling… – Clayton Ruby & Gerald Chan, in the National Post
  • It’s simple: we shouldn’t accredit TWU’s law school for the same reason we wouldn’t likely accredit a medical school that treated homosexuality as biologically and psychologically disorderedEmma Teitel, in MacLean’s 
  • So while Trinity Western University’s prohibition against same-sex intimacy is technically just as immoral and discriminatory as the sexist, hypothetical policy I invented above, it doesn’t sting, repulse, or offend in quite the same fashion. Its teeth haven’t had a chance to sharpen over time … What we need then, in order to recognize how misguided it is to accredit this law school, isn’t bigger hearts, but better foresight: the foresight to see ourselves through the eyes of our grandchildren – Emma Teitel, in MacLean’s 
  • [Y]ou can’t let the threat of litigation to prevent you from doing the right thing – Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society president René Gallant, Reported by James Bradshaw in the Globe and Mail

Final Comment: 

Canada should move forward, not backward — as should its legal profession.” – Clayton Ruby & Gerald Chan, in the National Post.

I simply could not have said it better myself.

Anonymous Lawyer


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