On Tuesday June 10, 2014, lawyers and articling students in British Columbia will have an opportunity to weigh in on the Law Society of British Columbia’s accreditation of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school.
At the heart of the controversy is a covenant, or contract, Trinity Western University will require law students to sign. The covenant prohibits “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman”. In other words, homosexual law students engaging in consensual sexual relations are liable to punishment by Trinity Western University.
The Law Society has scheduled a Special General Meeting in response to unrest among many lawyers who feel that the Barristers’ and Solicitors’ Oath requires lawyers to uphold the rights and freedoms of all persons, including homosexuals. The Law Society has an obligation to promote and improve the standard of legal practice in BC, and many lawyers feel that accrediting Trinity Western University is a step in the wrong direction. Specifically, many lawyers believe there is no compelling evidence that accrediting a law school allegedly premised on principles of discrimination and intolerance will promote or improve the standards of practice among lawyers.
Proponents of Trinity Western University’s law school argue that freedom of religion is at stake in the Law Society’s Special General Meeting.
The meeting promises to be quite an intense affair and the outcome will be a landmark in the BC legal system.