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.
The law school was accredited earlier this year and will begin classes this fall, but they just took a big hit. The Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario just decided that graduates of the school will not be able to practice law in that province:
Ontario’s law society has voted not to accredit graduates of a controversial faith-based law school which has drawn opposition over concerns it would discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Benchers for the Law Society of Upper Canada voted 28 to 21, with one abstention, against accrediting graduates of a proposed law school at Trinity Western University…
The rebuke from Canada’s largest and oldest law society is a major setback for the university, which had already won approvals from the B.C. government, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and the Law Society of B.C. in recent months.
That’s a major obstacle for the school’s graduates and I can’t say it makes a lot of sense to me. If the students do the necessary work and pass the required exams to become a lawyer, where they went to law school should be irrelevant, even if it is a place that advocated discrimination. The law is clear regarding the rights of LGBT individuals and even Christian lawyers won’t be able to argue their way out of that.
If you’re someone who understands the Canadian legal system (I’m sure as hell no expert), I’d love to hear your thoughts. But right now, I don’t see how this ruling from the Law Society of Upper Canada makes a lot of sense.