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.
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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