By a margin of 20-6, the benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia defeated a resolution that would have rejected Trinity Western University’s proposed law school as an approved faculty of law. I was in the minority, along with Joseph Arvay, Q.C., Peter Lloyd, FCA, Sharon Matthews, Q.C., Jamie McLaren and Lee Ongman.
I was influenced, in part, by the December 2013 report of the Special Advisory Committee of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Although the FLSC granted preliminary approval to TWU, it acknowledged that the university’s Community Covenant would make members of the GLBT community feel “unwelcome” there. The FLSC’s Special Advisory Committee seemed to suggest that students seeking to attend law school have many other more welcoming options to choose from if they are offended by TWU’s discriminatory policies.
Many of the benchers who voted against the resolution (and for TWU’s proposed law faculty) cited a 2001 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada which addressed a similar issue in the context of TWU’s desire to establish a teachers’ college, and suggested that the Law Society was bound by the outcome of that case, which was in favour of TWU.
For my part, I’d like to feel that we live in a more enlightened age today, and that those in positions of leadership in our profession will challenge discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.