Law Society of British Columbia Votes to Reverse Accreditation of Anti-Gay Christian School

Back in December, I posted about a proposed new law school in British Columbia affiliated with (Christian) Trinity Western University where gay students who acted on their sexual orientation would not be allowed through the doors:

At the time, I defended the school’s right to exist. My thinking was that, like private Christian schools in the United States, they could discriminate however they’d like — and it won’t ultimately matter since the students would still have to learn and defend Canadian law as written and pass the Canadian version of the bar exam. In other words, their Christian anti-gay bigotry wouldn’t work in the real world. (A few commenters attempted to refute my thinking here.)

The law school was accredited earlier this year and will begin classes this fall, but they took a big hit when the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario decided that graduates of the school would not be able to practice law in that province. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me, I’ll admit, because if the students passed the necessary exams to become a lawyer, I didn’t know why they should be barred from practicing the law. (It’s not like their bigoted views would matter at that point.) If there was evidence that they weren’t doing their jobs properly or they were treating their LGBT clients in an unprofessional way, screw ‘em. But barring that, I had a hard time getting on board that bandwagon.

Yesterday, the school was hit with another major obstacle:

Members of the Law Society of B.C. voted 3,210 to 968 in Tuesday’s special general meeting to oppose accreditation for Trinity Western University.

The vote is non-binding but directs the society’s board of directors, known as Benchers, to declare that TWU is not an approved faculty of law for the purposes of the law society’s admissions program.

Once again, I support the sentiment, but I fail to see how the school isn’t doing its job as a law school. Will professors train students properly? Seems like it. Are they preparing students to defend the rule of law (or fight it if necessary)? Appears to be the case. Are they encouraging mistreatment of LGBT clients? Nope.

So while I understand the desire to stop a private Christian school from discriminating against openly gay students (who aren’t celibate), it’s unclear to me that those views have an impact on the school’s ability to properly train future lawyers. And for a private Christian school, that’s all that should matter.

(Portions of this article were posted earlier. Thanks to Nicole for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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