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Law society decides to hold referendum on controversial TWU law program

A concept drawing of Trinity Western University's proposed law school.
A concept drawing of Trinity Western University's proposed law school. Trinity Western University/Fair Use

The council that governs the Law Society of BC (LSBC) has decided to hold a referendum on the accreditation issue of the controversial Trinity Western University law school again.

The issue is around the Christian university’s requirement that students abide by a so-called community covenant forbidding intimacy outside heterosexual marriage. The requirement has been seen as being anti-gay and contravenes a person’s charter of rights.

TWU, which has about 3,600 students at its Langley campus, applied to open a law school in 2016.

The council originally gave the law school the green light but was asked to re-consider their decisions by the society’s general membership. The provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia have chosen not to accredit TWU law school graduates due to the controversial policy.

The members of the LSBC had three options to vote on today. The first option was to respect the wishes of the majority of B.C. lawyers and reverse a previous decision to accredit the faith-based law school. The second was to put the vote to another vote with this one binding to all of the society’s members and the third was to wait for the court to rule on the issue.

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“We are disappointed with this decision,” said TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold. “The Benchers originally approved TWU graduates based on constitutional principles and the rule of law. They have now decided that the matter should be determined by popular vote.”

~ with files from Canadian Press