Canada: BC government blocks plans for law school that bans gays

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The government in British Columbia have blocked a Christian university’s plans to open a law school – because it planned to discriminate against gay students.

Trinity Western – a private, Chrisitan liberal arts college – had planned to teach a new law degree from 2016, and had originially gained permission to do so.

However, rights campaigners had condemned the school’s policy of requiring students to sign a pledge to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman”, effectively banning gay students.

British Columbia’s Advanced Education Minister, Amrik Virk, pulled the plug on the law school late last week – after concerns that law bodies would refuse to recognise its graduates.

He said: “The current uncertainty over the status of the regulatory body approval means prospective graduates may not be able to be called to the bar, or practise law, in British Columbia. This is a significant change to the context in which I made my original decision.”

However, Trinity Western’s President Bob Kuhn said: “It is difficult to conceive of a justifiable basis for the Minister to have revoked his approval of the school of law program.

“As a private Christian University, Trinity Western has demonstrated its place in Canada’s academic community, delivering some of Canada’s highest ranked professional programs.

“We believe in diversity and the rights of all Canadians to their beliefs and values.

“We remain committed to having a School of Law, and now have to carefully consider all our options.

“There are such important rights and freedoms at stake that we may have no choice but to seek protection of them in court.”