Supreme Court to rule on Trinity Western University‘s law school

VANCOUVER – Lawyers, religious groups and private universities are awaiting today‘s landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision involving a proposed Christian law school in British Columbia.

The case hinges on whether law societies in B.C. and Ontario can refuse to license graduates of the law school at Trinity Western University, which requires all students to agree to a community covenant prohibiting sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

The societies say the covenant discriminates against LGBTQ people, while the university maintains it has a right to freedom of religion as a private institution.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld the rejection of that province‘s law school, while B.C.‘s top court sided with the university, saying the regulator was intolerant in imposing its views on a minority.

Earl Phillips, executive director of the proposed school, says the community covenant reflects Christian principles, and the law school would provide a diverse education that should be acceptable in a pluralist democracy.

Matthew Wigmore, who graduated from Trinity in 2012 and came out as a gay man during his second year, says he hopes administrators will work toward healing a fractured university community, no matter what the top court decides.