From Wednesday until Friday, the BC Court of Appeal will hear arguments in the case of Trinity Western University vs the Law Society of British Columbia. The BC Humanist Association was granted leave to intervene in the appeal with the Canadian Secular Alliance.
The private evangelical university is attempting to establish a law school and requires all students sign a Community Covenant that excludes gay students.
In their factum to the court, the BCHA and CSA argue that studying law is not a religious act protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that requiring all students - including non-Christians - to obey an evangelical Christian ethos is religious compulsion.
Read the factum submitted by the BCHA and CSA.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:
While we're in favour of freedom of religion, that freedom has limits. By intervening in this case, we're looking to put a clear limit on what is and isn't protected by religious freedom. We only need to look to some of the so-called religious freedom acts in the USA to see the danger of letting religious freedom trample over the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and atheists.
Tim Dickson, Counsel for Canadian Secular Alliance and BC Humanist Association:
I am pleased to represent the BC Humanist Association and the Canadian Secular Alliance, who are intervening in this appeal in order to help affirm the principle that freedom of religion only protects activities that are truly religious in nature. There is simply nothing religious about studying (secular) Canadian law, and no law school that discriminates against LGBTQ students should be granted accreditation by Canadian law societies.
The BC Court of Appeal is hearing arguments from Wednesday, June 1 to Friday, June 3 from 10 AM to 4 PM in Courtroom 60 at the Court of Appeal at 400-800 Hornby Street in Vancouver. The hearings are open to the public and electronic devices can be used discreetly but recording and photography are prohibited.
The BCHA will be attending the hearings and reporting on its Twitter account with #TWULaw.
Please donate to the BC Humanist Association's legal fund to support this intervention and future cases to defend secular and humanist values.