After several years of legal battles and public discourse regarding Trinity Western University’s proposed law school, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down its decision this morning against TWU.
The ruling is complex as the Court conveys its reasoning for the delineation of the scope of the rights and freedoms at issue. Despite eight of nine Supreme Court judges agreeing that TWU’s religious freedom is limited by this decision, seven of the nine still upheld the law societies’ legal right to deny accreditation to the law school.
Trinity Western University, a private Christian institution in Langley, B.C., first proposed opening a law school back in 2012. Several of Canada’s provincial law societies initially approved accreditation for the law school. But later, some of them rescinded their approval over concern about TWU’s community covenant, which requires students to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of traditional marriage. The case wound its way through the various provincial court systems over the next number of years. It finally reached the Supreme Court of Canada in late 2017.
Throughout this process, there have been many voices expressing support for TWU’s position, including the B.C. Court of Appeal, but today the highest court in Canada disagreed with them.
I am disheartened by this ruling and believe that underlying it are some very grave implications for people, organizations and communities of faith in Canada. I urge you to join me in praying for encouragement for all of our friends at TWU, and for wisdom as they consider what is next for their law school. We know God is in control and He will continue to guide TWU and all of us through these challenging times in our society.
I invite you to visit TWU Serves to learn more about the law school and its legal journey that culminated in today’s ruling.
To access the full Reasons for Judgment of the Supreme Court, please click here.
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