Trinity Western University aims to open its faith-based law school in 2016.

B.C. lawyers vote to overturn Christian law school recognition

Referendum goes against Langley's Trinity Western University over covenant limiting sex to traditional marriage

B.C. lawyers have voted 74 per cent against recognizing Trinity Western University’s proposed law school for the Law Society of B.C.’s admissions program.

The law school has been controversial because the Langley Christian university’s community covenant bans sex outside of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Critics say that discriminates against gays and lesbians.

The Law Society of B.C.’s board of governors voted 25-1 Friday with four abstentions to uphold the referendum outcome and rescind their previously granted accreditation of TWU’s law school.

A total of 5,951 lawyers voted in favour of the declaration against the faith-based law school in the referendum, while 2,088 were against it.

The mail-in ballot required a minimum one-third participation of the 13,530 practising, non-practising and retired lawyers who were eligible, and a two-thirds majority to pass.

The referendum was ordered after thousands of lawyers demanded the law profession’s regulatory body reconsider its earlier decision.

“It is a proud day to be a lawyer,” said lesbian lawyer Barbara Findlay, who said the covenant promising not to have sex outside heterosexual marriage discriminates not just against homosexual couples, but heterosexual common-law couples as well.

“Respect for equality is a foundation principle of the rule of law and should be a foundation principle of the legal profession,” lawyer Michael Mulligan said.

The law school was approved by the provincial government in late 2013 but the law society controls who can practise as a lawyer in B.C.

Asked if the province may now reverse its approval, Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk said he will give the law society’s decision “due consideration.”

Virk’s earlier approval followed the recommendation of the Degree Quality Assessment Board and the preliminary approval of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.

The law school was to open in the fall of 2016.

“The University is disappointed with this vote”, said TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold. “Trinity Western believes in diversity and the rights of all Canadians to their personal beliefs and values. A person’s ability to study and practise the law should not be restricted by their faith.”

TWU’s law school is also being blocked by law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia and the university has mounted court challenges that could end up before the Supreme Court of Canada.

TWU previously won a Supreme Court of Canada victory in 2001 on grounds of religious freedom over its faith-based teacher training program, which the B.C. College of Teachers had refused to recognize.

Just Posted

Police release video of suspects in Newton homicide

Randhawa was shot dead in a driveway in the 6700-block of 130th Street on Oct. 11

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

Halloween in Surrey: 19 events on city’s calendar, including cemetery tour and scary movies

Dances, costume parties and ‘Boo-seum’ event also happening this month in Surrey

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna plans to announce the new regulations implementing the ban on Thursday in Ottawa

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day two of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Demand for legalized cannabis in early hours draws lineups, heavy web traffic

Government-run and privately operated sales portals went live at 12:01 a.m. local time across Canada, eliciting a wave of demand.

5 to start your day

Pot is legal across Canada but no pot shops in many Lower Mainland cities

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set to make parole pitch today

Paul Bernardo, whose very name became synonymous with sadistic sexual perversion, is expected to plead for release on Wednesday.

Hero campaign raises $1.1 million for Canada non-profits

Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign was held throughout September

Scope of Hurricane Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle

Nearly 137,000 Florida customers remain without power from the Gulf of Mexico to the Georgia border

Streamlined pardon process for pot possession convictions in Canada

Feds say legalization is first step towards objectives of getting pot out of the hands of kids and eliminating black market

Most Read