I’ll provide a longer post when I have time, but I figured I’d give an update on the ongoing legal battles between Trinity Western University, an evangelical Christian university located in BC, and certain of Canada’s law societies, including those in BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia.
As I’ve written about ad nauseum before, here, here, and here ,the law societies of Nova Scotia, BC and Ontario have refused to accredit TWU over its covenant of community (i.e., Christian) values which refuses to recognize same-sex marriage. As I’ve noted previously, the arguments put forward by opponents of TWU have generally been high on rhetoric but light on legal analysis (i.e., wrong). Apparently, Justice Campbell of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court agrees, because he concluded, in a judgement released earlier today, that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s refusal to accredit TWU was illegal on the bassis that the decision (i) was unfounded in any legal authority of the NSBS and (ii) violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s a long decision (though a pretty well-written one), but for casual readers the first 10-20 pages or so have a nice pithy summary of Justice Campbell’s reasons.
This was an obvious decision which anyone with even a passing familiarity with the NSBS’s statutory authority and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (and the jurisprudence around TWU thereunder) would have seen coming. Apparently this group excludes a majority of the benchers of the law societies of Ontario, BC and Nova Scotia, and a majority of the members of the BC bar who voted not to accredit TWU. This is a sad commentary on either the intellect or integrity of the legal profession in Canada.
I’m not sure why I actually care about the Trinity Western University (“TWU“) law school (which I’ve written about ad nauseum, here, here and, most recently, here) or whether or not it gets accredited by the provincial law societies. I went to a proper law school (UofT) and frankly would rather spend my weekend at the local gay pride parade than at bible study with the TWU grads. Yet, here I am, defending TWU. In part, though, I think its the fact that, as a lawyer, I’m offended by the by shabby, misleading, and plain stupid legal arguments being made against TWU.
Continue reading “If the case against TWU law school is so strong, why do its opponents have to mistate what the law actually is?”
Brandon Ambrosino over at Time has a nice little piece on the Duck Dynasty/Homophobia fiasco that, I think, offers a lot of insight on the recent spat in Canada around the proposed Trinity Western University (TWU) Law School (see my earlier post). I’d encourage you to read it.
Continue reading “Trinity Western University and Duck Dynasty – Why can’t we get along?”
There a minor kerfuffle in the legal community this week over news that Trinity Western University (TWU), a private Christian university based in BC, had cleared the initial hurdles to potentially establish a new law school. What has been particularly controversial about TWU’s application is the community covenant that TWU requires its students (and staff) sign which includes an agreement not to engage in “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” (read gay sex). TWU’s application to establish a law school has been opposed by many of the powers-that-be in the legal community (including the redoubtable Clayton Ruby and the Council of Canadian Law Deans) on the grounds that, among other things, it would be a breeding ground for bigotry.
The Council of Canadian Law Deans has called Trinity Western’s proposal “fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools.” And in a statement from a coalition of LGBT affinity groups at Canadian law schools, University of Toronto student Marcus McCann called the decision “totally unacceptable.”
“The bottom line is that no law school in Canada should be allowed to weed out gay students,” he said.
Continue reading “Religion and Bigotry – Opponents of Trinity Western Law School Say More About Themselves Than They Think”
I’ve long been a supporter of gay marriage (on largely conservative grounds), so I was pleased with the results of the US Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor (the companion case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, while it effectively legalizes gay marriage in the state of California, was actually decided on narrow procedural grounds, so really doesn’t say much on the subject one way or another). But Windsor’s an interesting case that will blow-up a lot of presumptions around civil rights in the US.
Continue reading “Thoughts on the US Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Decisions”