The Law Society of British Columbia has voted against accrediting a proposed law school at Trinity Western University.
In a binding decision, 74 per cent of lawyers voted against TWU’s program, with 8,039 ballots cast in total – more than 60 per cent of all lawyers eligible to vote.
The society says the decision means that “the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purpose of the Law Society’s admission program.”
The vote was conducted by mail and required a two-thirds majority, with a turnout more than 33.3 per cent.
Trinity Western University is a private institution in Langley with around 3,600 students. The school requires all students to abide by a covenant that forbids intimacy outside heterosexual marriage, which some argue discriminate against those in the LGBT community. They plan to open the law school in 2016.
The Law Society’s council originally approved the school, but was asked to reconsider by members. Last month, they formally approved a referendum.
Law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia have also ruled against approving the program under TWU’s current covenant, but the university is appealing those decisions in court.
“Respect for equality is a foundation principle of the rule of law and should be a foundation principle of the legal profession,” said Victoria lawyer Michael Mulligan, who has led the campaign against the school.
“I am delighted that the profession agrees so wholeheartedly with that principle, and that the Benchers will move forward on that basis.”