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Law Society of BC decides to recognize faculty of law at Trinity Western

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Law Society of BC has decided to recognize a faculty of law at Trinity Western University.

Earlier today, the executive of the society moved a motion to turn the university’s application down. After lengthy discussions, the motion failed by a vote of 20-6.

Lawyer Joe Arvay says his issue is the school’s community covenant which that requires students to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

“My main objection to this law school is what I see as discriminatory conduct by the administration of the law school. I object to what I say is the metaphorical sign at the gate of the law sign, which says ‘No LGBT students, faculty or staff are welcome,'” says Arvay.

Lawyer Cameron Ward compares the university’s policies to racial segregation in the United States in the 1960s and says he has a duty as a lawyer to oppose the school.

But lawyer Lynal Doerksen felt the bid deserved approval.

“To refuse Trinity Western’s law school accreditation on the basis their exercise of their belief in a traditional marriage is not in the public interest is, in my view, a very shaky legal foundation which will not stand up in court,” he argues.

Another lawyer, David Crossin, says he believes the school’s policy is discriminatory and misguided, but that the law means the school’s beliefs must be respected.

After the vote, Society President Jan Lindsay choked up when she thanked the executive. “As president, I’m so proud of our process and this discussion, and of each and every one of you. Thank you so much.”

She says the Society tries to reach consensus on issues, but that wasn’t possible on this one.

The university won a court challenge brought about by the BC College of Teachers along the same issue back in 2001.

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada and BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education have already decided they will recognize the law school, which is preparing to take in its first students in 2016.