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Mango
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BC lawyers vote against law school with anti-gay policy

»www.canadianlawyermag.com/legalf···ool.html

tl;dr: Trinity Western University has a policy that has been interpreted as discriminatory against the LGBTQ community. The University's point of view is "if you don't like it, go to school somewhere else." The lawyers' point of view is "we need lawyers to act impartially and not discriminate against gay people."

Yesterday, lawyers voted in a special resolution to reverse the earlier Law Society of British Columbia's decision to approve Trinity Western University’s law school. The special resolution is not binding, but is significant.



Anav
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1 recommendation

Better late than not at all.



HiVolt
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reply to Mango

What's the Q now in LGBTQ? Soon they'll have 10 letters
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Mango
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I believe the phrase is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. The Q is sometimes cited as "Questioning".



donoreo
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North York, ON

said by Mango:

I believe the phrase is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. The Q is sometimes cited as "Questioning".

Queer would be redundant.


HiVolt
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reply to Mango

LOL, Questioning... I wonder what the next letter will be... A for Asexual.
--



Styvas
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reply to Mango

Just to be clear, the University doesn't have an anti-gay policy; they employ a theological definition of marriage that forms the basis for their community covenant regarding sexual activity.

But why have any stance on sex in the first place? Because, to an evangelical Christian at TWU, it symbolizes the covenantal relationship between God and humanity (reflected in its fullness as the union of male and female in the covenant of marriage). In other words, it's not so much about sexual release or even necessarily reproduction, but theological symbolism regarding relationship between God and his people. There are other ways this is symbolized, but sexuality is an important one.

So, in a context where students and faculty/staff are expected to grow more than just academically, but also to grow spiritually in their relationship with God, it makes sense that the human act that symbolizes the intimacy and fullness of relationship with God would be adhered to in a manner consistent with denominational definitions. Other church traditions are free to view it differently.

The Trinity Western University Act, however, specifies that "the objects of the University shall be to provide for young people of any race, colour, or creed, university education in the arts and sciences with an underlying philosophy and viewpoint that is Christian" (ref). In other words, they are required by law to teach from a Christian perspective, so what would you have them do?


zod5000

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said by Styvas:

The Trinity Western University Act, however, specifies that "the objects of the University shall be to provide for young people of any race, colour, or creed, university education in the arts and sciences with an underlying philosophy and viewpoint that is Christian" (ref). In other words, they are required by law to teach from a Christian perspective, so what would you have them do?

Not let them offer law degrees because the Christian perspective conflicts with some of the fundamental values of the charter of rights and freedoms?


elwoodblues
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reply to HiVolt

said by HiVolt:

LOL, Questioning... I wonder what the next letter will be... A for Asexual.

I just choked my sandwich, that was too much.
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Styvas
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reply to zod5000

You mean the Charter that makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion?


peterboro
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said by Styvas:

You mean the Charter that makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion?

"The "Fundamental Freedoms" section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion;(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and(d) freedom of association.
Canadians are therefore free to have their own beliefs and opinions, are free to practise religion or refrain, and are free to establish media organizations with or without religious content. Canadian religious institutions generally benefit from charitable organization status, which allows supporters to benefit from tax credits or deductions for their financial contributions." »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of···n_Canada


Styvas
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reply to Styvas

By a cooincidence, I just saw someone post a link to this paper on Facebook.

»papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?···d=941221

Part of the introduction states the following:

...Section 1 [is] the provision of the Charter that embodies the ‘constitutional promise’ that the Canadian Government will respect peoples’ Charter rights and limit them only where such limits can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. One implication of this constitutional promise is an outer boundary on the extent to which the government may limit rights under Section 1. If the rights in the Charter purport to embody universal and inalienable rights derived from sources beyond the state, then the state cannot completely abrogate or remove those rights, no matter how pressing a government objective might be. In other words, the state cannot completely take away what it did not bestow.

Religious rights may not be currently popular, but they are rights nonetheless; and, to deny people of faith full participation in society merely because they hold religious beliefs is discrimination of the unconstitutional sort.

We already have laws against discrimination and professional standards within the legal profession. If TWU grads are proven to act in a discriminatory manner in their legal role (for any reason, religious or otherwise, then they can and will be taken to task by their profession, by human rights tribunals, and by the courts.

analog andy

join:2005-01-03
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reply to Styvas

Well seems there's not much trust in that school if they make you sign paper work dealing with sexuality and marriage.



Styvas
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Not sure what you mean. The community covenant is a commitment that students will be full participants in their educational journey. It's not imposed upon them, but rather a commitment that they freely make when they decide that TWU offers the environment in which they want to learn.



Styvas
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Obviously, the community covenant covers far more topics than sexuality. However, that's the one that gets singled out because it's the most politically incorrect.



Styvas
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reply to Mango

The community covenant and a FAQ regarding the covenant can be found at the following link:

»twu.ca/governance/presidents-off···ant.html

Obviously, the University is not for everyone. That's kind of the point. It's a faith-based environment, privately funded, founded on and in pursuit of Christian principles, and established and accredited by the Province of British Columbia as a university to train those who wish to attend.



TigerLord
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reply to Mango

Can the school appeal? And if not, what happens to the school now? It wasn't exactly an unanimous decision, the vote was 28-21 with one abstention according to the Star.


IamGimli

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said by TigerLord:

Can the school appeal? And if not, what happens to the school now? It wasn't exactly an unanimous decision, the vote was 28-21 with one abstention according to the Star.

There's nothing to appeal yet, the resolution is non-binding. The accreditation board have said that they'll "consider" the resolution and make a determination "soon".


Styvas
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The school will appeal to the courts to fight those decisions that bar their students from practicing law. This most current vote by the BC lawyers is not binding on the benchers in the Law Society, but it would be unusual, I would think, for them not to reverse their previous decision in the face of this pressure.

They went through this with their education program in 2001 when the BC College of Teachers refused to accredit their students on virtually identical grounds. The SCC ruled in TWU's favour in that case.



TigerLord
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reply to Mango

Hell just froze over because I'm with Styvas See Profile on this one.

It's a private school that is privately funded. The issue of discrimination would only arise if a LGBTQ applicant was refused on the grounds he is not straight, and Vice actually asked the question.

Q: The Community Covenant Agreement states that TWU welcomes all students who qualify for admission. Does a person who is legally married to and engages in sexual activity with a member of the same sex qualify for admission to TWU?

A: Well, let’s put it this way: somebody in that position would immediately recognize that their values would conflict with the values that are in the Community Covenant Agreement, so a welcomeness is reflected by the circumstances.

It’s a bit of an academic question I suppose, because anybody applying would be advised or would know that the Community Covenant Agreement is in place. It’s difficult to say that they would be compliant with it. Somebody who tends not to be compliant with it would probably not apply, unless it was a confrontation application, which we haven’t had yet, and I hope we won’t have.

Q: Yes, someone who is legally married to their same-sex partner, and who engages in sexual activity with that partner, would probably not want to apply to TWU. My question, however, is whether that individual would qualify for admission.

Well, I can imagine circumstances where they would qualify for admission, but they would not be typical circumstances. From a technical perspective, it would be a matter of do they qualify from a position of being able to sign the necessary documents, those documents being the Community Covenant Agreement. If they can’t see their way through to signing those documents, then they would not qualify for admission.

»news.vice.com/article/a-canadian···-college

If TWU was the only law school in BC or Canada I could see the case for discrimination, but there are other options, so you'd have to be a troll to sign up with them if you don't agree with their views.

The other issue according to the Law Society of Upper Canada is that lawyers need to act impartial to fulfill their duties. Does that mean that Christian doctors (of whom there are many, and good ones too) should have their practice supervised because they may treat patients of the LGBTQ community differently? I don't think so. Bias is inherent to the human experience, but I trust they can set aside their personal views to uphold whatever oath they have taken. Judges and doctors do it all the time.

Their covenant agreement is weird as hell , but unlike the issues of PAD or opposition to same-sex marriage (where harm and discrimination are easily demonstrated), there's no real harm being done here.

This decision reads like it was made out of moral or ethical reasoning rather than rational legalese. Because yes, the TWU's position is unpopular in 2014, but it is protected.


analog andy

join:2005-01-03
Surrey, BC

said by TigerLord:

Does that mean that Christian doctors (of whom there are many, and good ones too) should have their practice supervised because they may treat patients of the LGBTQ community differently? I don't think so.

Did their medical school or the college of physicians ask them to sign a pledge that says they cant not engage in any activities that are "biblically condemned" including "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman ?


DKS
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reply to Styvas

said by Styvas:

The Trinity Western University Act, however, specifies that "the objects of the University shall be to provide for young people of any race, colour, or creed, university education in the arts and sciences with an underlying philosophy and viewpoint that is Christian" (ref). In other words, they are required by law to teach from a Christian perspective, so what would you have them do?

One can also reflect and teach from a Christian perspective which is inclusive of all, no matter what their sexual orientation.
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analog andy

join:2005-01-03
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Right its their version of "with an underlying philosophy and viewpoint that is Christian"



Styvas
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reply to DKS

Absolutely, but you ignored the denominational perspective on Christian faith that, obviously, is different from your own. The same school, but founded by the United Church, would look somewhat different. Its Christian perspective would have different approaches and priorities.


analog andy

join:2005-01-03
Surrey, BC

Ok so its not Christian teachings but teachings based on the Christian faith.



TigerLord
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reply to analog andy

said by analog andy:

Did their medical school or the college of physicians ask them to sign a pledge that says they cant not engage in any activities that are "biblically condemned" including "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman ?

Nope, but stuff like that only tells me these people like to live as if it was 18th century France in their bedrooms. It doesn't mean they can't be impartial.

said by analog andy:

Ok so its not Christian teachings but teachings based on the Christian faith.

Christianity has many denominations, such as, but not limited to, adventists, anabaptists, anglicans, baptists, calvinists, catholics, evangelicals, lutherans, protestants and pentecostals.

Each denomination has its own interpretation of the holy scriptures. One easy example: protestants don't believe in the virgin Mary, but Catholics do.


BigSensFan
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said by TigerLord:

said by analog andy:

Did their medical school or the college of physicians ask them to sign a pledge that says they cant not engage in any activities that are "biblically condemned" including "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman ?

Nope, but stuff like that only tells me these people like to live as if it was 18th century France in their bedrooms. It doesn't mean they can't be impartial.

said by analog andy:

Ok so its not Christian teachings but teachings based on the Christian faith.

Christianity has many denominations, such as, but not limited to, adventists, anabaptists, anglicans, baptists, calvinists, catholics, evangelicals, lutherans, protestants and pentecostals.

Each denomination has its own interpretation of the holy scriptures. One easy example: protestants don't believe in the virgin Mary, but Catholics do.

Oh we believe in the Virgin Mary... .we just don't believe she remained a virgin after Jesus was born.
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Styvas
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In fact, I visited her house in Ephesus 3 weeks ago.



shaner
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reply to TigerLord

TigerLord See Profile is correct. This is only an issue if TWU turned down an applicant solely because the applicant is gay, AND they stated that reason in their decision.

There are other law school options in BC and Canada; there's no good reason for an aspiring lawyer to even apply to TWU if they're gay. Other than to purposefully provoke a confrontation.

If TWU wants to practice ignorance, that's their problem.
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I'm a man, but I can change. If I have to. I guess.

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Anav
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reply to Mango

Goody, I get to disagree with just about everyone.

DKS, your statement seems hypocritical....
"One can also reflect and teach from a Christian perspective which is inclusive of all"

Obviously this Christian perspective is not all inclusive, or perhaps more likely I missed your point.

Shaner, one should not have to avoid a University due to its policies that imho are a violation of the charter.

Peter.... One has the right to fundamental freedoms, pertains to the individual, it does not pertain to an institution granting PUBLIC DEGREES. In other words the courts are public and the law is provincial or federal not religious based. The University on the other hand must ensure it accords everyone equal access and treatment and respects each students charter rights. They need to get their heads out of the sand or move to Texas, the republicans there share similar sentiments...... not cloaked in the facade of a university setting.......

»rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/···latform/
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