The school is Trinity Western University, a private evangelical school that requires all students, staff, and faculty to sign and adhere to a community covenant. The covenant has creepy demands regarding everyone’s personal lives, including that they all abstain from sex outside of traditional heterosexual marriage. (They are also expected to spy on each other and report violations to a school authority. Punishment can include expulsion.) This obviously discriminates against those in same-sex couples, married or not. It discriminates against people in common law marriages, as well, but no one really talks about that. An additional layer of revolting is the school’s expectation that it’s students go out in the world and change all institutions into Christian institutions – radical change, is the term they use – with warnings that other beliefs are false and supported by Satan.
The core of the dispute is whether the societies have the right to consider any issues other than competence and the technical merits of a law school in determining whether to accredit it. The societies say they have the right to consider the impact accrediting a law school that has discriminatory practices on our culture as a whole, as they have a duty to encourage respect for and belief in the legal system. They can’t do that if they give a gold star to a place like TWU. Also, we’re trying to draw people of marginalized groups into the legal system, not make them feel unwelcome in it.
TWU feels the societies don’t have the right to consider anything other than competence and the quality of the education. Personally, I think TWU fails the quality test, as they claimed they were going to teach the law from a Christian perspective. Their version of Christianity. Given their bigotry, that’s a horrifying idea. We’ve got enough backwards judges who make disastrous decisions involving marginalized people. We don’t need judges from a law school that actively teaches and enforces bigotry.
The court sided with the provinces.
Some Christians are flipping out. One of their claims is that this decision is a strike against diversity. They also assert that, as they are a minority within the Christian religion, they have somehow suffered as genuinely marginalized groups have, which is an appalling claim to make. The covenant and the reprehensible demands to “transform culture” tell us how much they value diversity, which is not at all.
And we have the idiots who are saying, “Would they do this to a Muslim university?” to which the answer is, “Obviously.” A Muslim school telling its students to engage in radical change by transforming all institutions into Muslim institutions, and that all other beliefs were false, wouldn’t be allowed to exist at all.
TWU has announced that they won’t be building a law school in the near future, despite the fact that they would be accredited by six provinces and all three territories. I imagine this decision is grounded in the fact that a law degree that isn’t recognized in Ontario, the province with the biggest population, the capital, and Toronto, wouldn’t be appealing to many students, and therefore the school would receive fewer applications. But the first year of the law school was going to have only sixty students. Surely, if there is such a great need for a Christian law school, the only Christian law school in Canada, they would draw in enough students anyway? After all, there’s a lot of work to be found in the other parts of Canada. So I don't know what's going on there.
There were two court decisions, one for Ontario and one for BC.