Research Handbook on Law and Religion
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Research Handbook on Law and Religion

Edited by Rex Ahdar

Offering an interdisciplinary, international and philosophical perspective, this comprehensive Research Handbook explores both perennial and recent legal issues that concern the modern state and its interaction with religious communities and individuals.
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Chapter 20: Trinity Western University’s law school: reconciling rights

Janet Epp Buckingham

Abstract

Trinity Western University, a private, Christian university in British Columbia, Canada, has been embroiled in legal cases over its proposal to establish a law school. The university requires its students to sign a code of conduct, which commits them to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of marriage between a man and a woman. The university initially obtained requisite approvals from regulatory bodies, but several provincial law societies, the professional regulators, refused to allow graduates to be called to the bar, citing this requirement as a discriminatory admissions policy. The university challenged this in court, arguing that it violates religious freedom, both of the university and its students. The cases require the courts to reconcile rights to religious freedom with equality rights of LGB persons, both of which are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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