Law School = Heterosexuality?

When most people consider law school they generally don’t assume that they would be signing up for three years of abstinence but that’s exactly what this school was asking for.

Trinity Western University sought the approval of the Law Society of Upper Canada for opening a new law school. The school was focused on protecting Christian values and went as far to require students to sign a covenant binding them to not to have sex outside of a heterosexual marriage during their attendance at the university. The contract went as for to state that violation of these terms could result in suspension or expulsion.

The Law Society of Upper Canada rejected the proposal and the B.C university took the matter to court. The case could progress and be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Legal implications

The Law Society of Upper Canada rejected this proposal due to a violation of human rights. The university’s proposed contract would discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Individuals belonging to this group would be unable to form relationships they wish to form. If the university was open to LGBTQ students they would have to suppress their sexuality and refrain from forming intimate relationships. Many legal practitioners argue that these rules violate fundamental rights of equality of opportunity.


The lawyer representing the universities interests supported his position with a case from 2001. The case was about TWU teaching college graduates being denied accreditation by the B.C College of Teachers for allegedly discriminating against students. The judge found that there was a lack of evidence to support this claim and allowed the graduate students to obtain accreditation.  Consequently, the TWU representative argued that the present case is similar to the case in 2001. He went as far as to argue, that the decision had already been made as the Supreme Court of Canada should continue to protect religious freedoms.


The lawyer representing the Law Society of Upper Canada argued that there are significant differences in the case and attitudes towards the LGBTQ community have significantly changed since the 2001 ruling. He went on to argue that if TWU was to get approval it would not only be seeking to operate a law school to promote its religious beliefs but also only operate if it was allowed to provide its services if it is guaranteed access to the largest market for future law school graduates.  If TWU is successful in its claim the school will only produce Christian heterosexual lawyers. Consequently many minority groups will be denied an opportunity to learn at TWU.

Points of Discussion:

1. How do you feel about a Christian based heterosexual law school?
2. Should law schools dictate who you can have intimate relationships with?

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One comment

  1. People are entitled to maintain their own belief systems however I absolutely disagree when it comes to an educational institution imposing its religious beliefs on students. Education has nothing to do with religion nor should one’s opportunities be limited based on their religious beliefs or sexual orientation. Pretty much all types of minority groups will be affected by this school’s decisions as they will no longer have access to their program. Whether someone chooses to be religious or to have sex should not impact their success as an academic. This school is forcefully drawing peoples’ personal lives into a professional setting for no reason aside from their own religious preferences. My life outside of school is utterly and entirely my business so long as it does not pose a legitimate threat against others – someone simply disagreeing with it is not a justified enough explanation for me.

    When applying to Pharmacy school last year, I too had come across a University that required that I provide proof of my faith in a particular religion alongside a recommendation letter from a priest. I would also be forced to take religious studies as a minor alongside my PharmD degree. Being of a different religion I knew that this school was no longer an option for me, which frankly was okay since I would rather not attend an institution that is forcing it’s beliefs on me; but I definitely felt bad that I was being excluded from the chance to apply to an excellent program for (unfair) reasons outside of my academic ability.

    I do not think that it is fair that such institutions exist. I have no problem with religious freedom but not to the extent where it is discriminating against people who have a right to access their facilities and programs.


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