Pro-gay legal groups oppose Christian law school in Canada

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    June 20, 2014 4:41 a.m.

    "A nonbinding vote of 3,210-968 by provincial lawyers seeks a reconsideration of the Law Society of British Columbia's accreditation of the law school, . . ."

    Provincial lawyers? You can say that again. Well can they get some lawyers who are less provincial and a little more open-minded and tolerant?

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    June 18, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    Well, I suppose lawyers would be upset by a bunch of moral students, come to think of it. We couldn't have moral lawyers!

    Why shouldn't "married gay students" be discriminated against by this school? According to this article, BYU law grads wouldn't be allowed to practice law, just based on bigotry against Christians.

    BYU Law School is one of the top schools in the country. It's not the highest, but it's certainly up there. But these idiots are pushing the argument that every single graduate of BYU shouldn't be allowed to practice law--because BYU has a religious orientation.

    Surely, Quaker, that rise to the level of bigotry against the religious. I'm sure you don't care, but still.

    The criteria should be: can you pass the bar exam? Will you swear the appropriate oath? If so, then who cares where you graduate from?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    June 18, 2014 2:42 p.m.

    @Vanceone: I think the concern might be, if I'm reading things correctly, that this school intends to deny admission to married gay students. If they only recognize heterosexual marriage and require a chastity guarantee from everyone else as a condition of admission, then ipso facto a same-sex married student has violated the school's chastity policy simply by dint of being married.

    As Canada guarantees equality of treatment of marriage, you can see the conundrum.

    Anyway, it's not just gay rights groups pointing this out. The entire British Columbia bar seems to be upset by the contravention of rights, and if I'm also reading this part right, it's the bar association that awards the school accreditation, not the government.

    I think the DN's headline is unnecessarily drawing battle lines and claiming victimhood at the hands of "the gays."

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    June 18, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    Look, it's pretty simple. No one seems to be saying that this school isn't doing a good job with it's teaching of the law. The whole point here is that this school, a private school, requires its students to live a moral life. And the law society wants them to do --what, exactly? Tell its students to not live a moral life? To be gay, fornicate etc, and if you don't, you can't be a lawyer?

    If the worry is that a graduate here cannot represent "gay people" then how can a graduate of another school represent straight people? Can a gay lawyer represent straight people in marriage issues? Or can any other attorney represent a Christian, if they graduated from a school that (like most, and apparently especially in British Columbia) has at least mild persecution of Christians?

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    June 18, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    Thanks for the reply, I agree that it needs to be considered. From what I've read about the TWU law school, it didn't come across as trying to place doctrinal purity over a quality legal education. I personally don't see how signing an Honor Code or agreeing to abide by certain behaviors while studying at TWU would automatically result in those students being religiously biased in their legal views. That's a pretty big assumption.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    June 18, 2014 7:08 a.m.

    @Blue AZ Cougar 3:37 p.m. June 17, 2014

    Let me clarify. In the first place, and for your information, I am a graduate of a law school that is part of a university owned and administered by Jesuits. This school handled the legal education correctly -- there was no slant or bias in the teaching and especially no slant or bias in favor of Catholic dogma. We learned the law as set forth in the Constitution and precedents whether or not the law matched what the Catholic Church wanted the law to be. We had to be able competently to argue both sides to all issues, and had our heads handed to us verbally if we could not.

    I have also seen graduates of less unbiased law schools try to "ply the trade." The bias inherent in their legal educations basically taught them how to argue just one side of each issue. The article describing this university and law school carries the hint, as stated by BC attorneys, that this institution is more concerned with doctrinal purity than it is with teaching students how properly to operate in the real world. This needs to be considered.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 18, 2014 6:16 a.m.

    @ TheProudDuck

    "There's no issue here with the quality of the school's legal instruction. The issue is whether the school adheres to a doctrine that is evidently mandatory in Canada."

    Do you really find it surprising that lawyers might be alarmed when a proposed LAW school comes out and says that it won't adhere to the LAW? And yes, laws do tend to be "mandatory"...except for religions. They continue to have the privilege of being less moral than the rest of society if they so choose.

    @ Blue AZ Cougar

    I worry about getting lawyers like Monica Goodling. She was so strongly influenced by her religious convictions that she failed to recognize legal boundaries in her zeal to purify the ranks of the Justice Dept.

    As for what's moral, I continue to be open to hearing the evidence from the other side of the SSM debate. None presented to date has withstood scrutiny. Is it unreasonable to expect justification for continuing to treat fellow citizens and taxpayers as second-class citizens?

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    June 17, 2014 9:20 p.m.

    "The assumption is that a lawyer trained at this school who lives by (or at least agrees to live by) religious tenets which include sexual relations may not be capable of being an unbiased lawyer who could properly represent people with different beliefs than their own."

    That's nonsense. What about people who beat their wives? Or people who murder other people? Or people who steal? Should they not also have legal representation by individuals who have the same beliefs as their own?

    Part of the problem is that our society assumes that when something is legal, it must also be moral. Totally separate things.

  • sharon-0791 Vancouver, 00
    June 17, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    I happen to live about 30 minutes from Trinity Western so am somewhat familiar with the opposition being brought forward to stop this law school from opening. The issue is one that any religious private university should be concerned about. The assumption is that a lawyer trained at this school who lives by (or at least agrees to live by) religious tenets which include sexual relations may not be capable of being an unbiased lawyer who could properly represent people with different beliefs than their own. This same university faced similar opposition establishing a teaching program (in British Columbia there is a 5th year of university required to become a public school teacher) that went to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2001. The university won that battle but that was before same-sex marriage was legal in Canada (2005). The body that just voted is the members of the Law Society of BC which is the society that actually licenses and regulates all lawyers in our province. If they listen to the overwhelming vote of their members a new precedent could be established that could affect law schools (and other programs) for private religious universities in other locations.

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    June 17, 2014 4:06 p.m.

    "do they punish students for having sex outside of heterosexual marriage? While the oath would seem to indicate that they do, I would be extremely surprised if their students really honor that oath. Even BYU has a huge problem with pre-marital sex. I can't see this religious university being any different."

    That's a 2-part question.
    1) Yes, there are likely individuals engaging in pre-marital sex at both TWU and BYU (albeit likely less than what you'd find at most universities). If you're trying to point out that some students make mistakes, I think that's a foregone conclusion.
    2) Yes, these universities likely punish students for not adhering to their commitments. I can't speak specifically about TWU, but I definitely know that at BYU those issues are not swept under the rug when they are known by the Honor Code office. It's not generally public knowledge, which may contribute to the false idea that the university does not enforce its Honor Code, but I can assure you they do because I know people who have been disciplined in a variety of ways, including being kicked out.

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    June 17, 2014 3:37 p.m.

    Are you suggesting we monitor and control what people think, or am I misinterpreting your comment?

    Listen, I understand that the purpose of a law school is to produce counselors who can interpret the law and defend their clients. The key word there is 'interpret'. If the law was so clear cut, we wouldn't need lawyers and judges, would we? Each person's opinions, beliefs, morals, upbringing, and religious convicts are used to interpret the law. Just because they wouldn't interpret something the way you would does not necessarily mean they're wrong.

    If we're worried about the quality of law being taught, then perhaps we should also start shutting down other sub-par law schools.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    June 17, 2014 2:10 p.m.

    Just to make sure we understand:

    There's no issue here with the quality of the school's legal instruction. The issue is whether the school adheres to a doctrine that is evidently mandatory in Canada.

    Thank New England's God for the First Amendment. Elsewhere (and increasingly here), it's "every knee must bow and every tongue confess that Not That There's Anything Wrong With That."

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    June 16, 2014 4:19 p.m.

    As same-sex marriage appears to become common place around the world the more the persecution of those who believe differently than those who feel the acts of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is a normal become intolerant of those who oppose it.

    As noted in the Bible and in most religions including the major Christian sects acts of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is an abomination before the Lord.

    This is happening hear that those who oppose the world view are called bigots, out of touch and names that if it was the other way would be called discrimination. No what these lawyers are doing in Canada will also happen here.

    As President Monson so stated it take courage to stand alone against the evils of the world we now live in. Prophesy has and is being fulfilled as now religion called evil and acts against God is called good.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    June 16, 2014 12:14 p.m.

    According to the Vancouver Sun:

    "The Law Society of B.C. will vote Tuesday on whether to uphold accreditation for Canada’s first private Christian law school at Trinity Western University.

    Other law societies across Canada have said they will not recognize a TWU law degrees due to a school pledge that they consider discriminatory. All students and staff must pledge to abstain from sex outside marriage and any “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

    So, even though Same Sex Marriage is legal in Canada the TWU considers that married gay couples are commiting sin if they engage in sexual qactivity within their marriage. Therefore, married gay students in TWU are asked to leave.

    I join all of those who wonder how this issue will be resolved. I am sure we will face similar situations as SSM become leagl in the United States.

    June 16, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    That the law group is opposing the new law school is not newsworthy - really it would be expected.

    What is newsworthy is what the Canadian goverment does in reaction to the protest. If the government gets involved and removes the accreditation, that is an attack on the religious beliefs of the school.

    As government takes more of an active role in one side of this debate, religious disrimination will be condoned. I find it sad that some fail to see their own bigotry as they call out others' bigotry....

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    June 16, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    I googled this Univeristy and found that there is more than what is mentioned in this article.

    Basically this is not a "Christian Law School" in Canada. Their intent is to have a "Straight Law School in Canada". Like just white allowed type of thing.

    Chriatianity is not the issue, dicrimination is what the opponents of this law school are trying to prevent.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    June 16, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    So, as I understand it, this Christian university in Canada has applied for accreditation for a new law school it plans to open, and that accreditation has been granted? And then somebody organized a protest against it, and you're covering the protest as a news story?

    If you made a news story out of every single thing that anyone decides to protest anywhere in the world, you'd have no time or space for anything else. Why, the protests and lawsuits against the Catholic Church alone would take the next 10 years just for you to catch up.

    What, in your opinion, is so newsworthy in the first place about an Evangelical college in Canada opening a law school? Aren't there several of these already in the U.S. that are doing just fine? You are aware that Canada has its own body of rights laws and that our Constitution is unrelated to theirs?

    If this is just another excuse for fearmongering about a "war on religion," you're doing the public a major disservice.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 16, 2014 6:39 a.m.

    While this is a private institution, it does not already have a law school. I'm left to wonder if their law school will teach the law as it is (i.e., marriages of LGBT couples is legal in Canada) or as they would like it to be (i.e., matching their 'oath').

    Either way, let them do whatever. If their students come up short on the reality-based education stick, they'll have fewer clients. Thats how things work.

    Furthermore, do they punish students for having heterosexual-sex outside of heterosexual-marriage? While the oath would seem to indicate that they do, I would be extremely surprised if their students really honor that oath. Even BYU has a huge problem with (heterosexual) pre-marital sex. I can't see this religious university being any different.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    June 15, 2014 3:28 p.m.

    Being a private school, this school can set the requirements or its students as it chooses. What worrys me is the quality of the law it will be teaching, and whether clients will be able to get able and correct representation from the graduates of this school. Will they be teaching the law as it actually is or what the far right fringe dwellers want it to be (and that problem can be seen here on the board where some people, mainly on the far right, think they understand the Constitution when they really don't, and wrongly try to describe and argue it here). THAT is what needs to be controlled and monitored.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 15, 2014 12:14 p.m.

    Canadian law regarding religious freedom appears to be similar to our own. So though I applaud the spirit of this protest, I don't support its intent. This is a private institution and no one is forced to attend.