Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Discriminating Against Discrimination

"Even if I am wrong, and the benchers had the authority to delegate the decision to the members, I find that the decision was made without proper consideration and balancing of the Charter rights at issue, and therefore cannot stand."
"I conclude that the benchers permitted a non-binding vote of the LSBC [Law Society of British Columbia] membership to supplant their judgement. In so doing, the benchers disabled their discretion under the LPA by binding themselves to a fixed blanket policy set by LSBC members. The benchers thereby wrongfully fettered their discretion."
"There is no basis upon which a conclusion could be drawn or any evidence from the special general meeting or the October referendum proceedings that the LSBC's membership considered, let alone balanced, the petitioners' Charter rights against the competing rights of the LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, or Questioning] community." 
B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson

"This decision is important to the public and the legal profession. We will be reviewing the reasons for judgement carefully and consulting with our legal counsel regarding next steps."
Ken Walker, president, Law Society of British Columbia

"At least if it is in your favour you are happy for the day, but we know there is more process to come."
"It's a good day, but there's always tomorrow."
Guy Saffold, TWU spokesman

"We are very disappointed that the decision did not engage with the human rights issues at stake in the case, instead deciding the case on procedural grounds."
"B.C. lawyers voted twice and made it very clear that they want an inclusive profession that respects equality."
Kendra Milne, trial intervener, West Coast LEAF representative
Law students and lawyers protest Trinity Western University's proposal for a law school -- Photo Heather Gardiner

'Inclusive' in this instance signifies the politically correct view that if an individual, a group, or a religious community takes exception to social mores that transgress their own values, they will not uphold those social mores and in so doing absorb the hysterical opprobrium of those dedicated to turning society away from diverse opinions where people have the freedom to observe their own values system, at risk of censure.

If we are all equal under the law and all Canadians are free to believe in a cultural paradigm that identifies a customary alliance between a man and a woman as a marriage, all others social unions; that identifies chastity before marriage a primary step in moral values, this too should be respected. Those beliefs have validity for many who, voicing them in today's politically correct climate, are instantly labelled social dinosaurs and much worse.

The private Langley, British Columbia evangelical institution known as Trinity Western University aspired to open their own law school and sought the required approval from the Canadian Federation of Law Societies along with that of the BC. government in 2013. The school's proposal was given preliminary approval in 2014, but a backlash from B.C. lawyers resulted from the schools "community covenant", where a pledge is made to respect religious ideals revolving around heterosexual marriage and avoidance of sex outside marriage.

Suddenly, Trinity Western University became a magnet for condemnation from every 'progressive' group within Canada, lawyers leading the way in sanctimonious lashings-out against values no longer held by the majority of the population. Trinity Western is the largest Christian university in Canada requiring its four thousand students to sign that covenant and they do so presumably because the covenant expresses their own values and they feel free to commit to the covenant, having sought their higher education through TWU.
Protesters gather outside Osgoode Hall, York University -- Photo Heather Gardiner

The situation impinges on no one's human rights, protected under the Constitution. How likely is it that a transgender or gay person would wish to attend TWU, given the prevailing social atmosphere led by its religious roots? The inference is that anyone who signed such a covenant would have a warped sense of social justice, and through attending the TWU proposed law school, would be incapable of viewing law and justice through a social-justice lens.

What followed the B.C. lawyers' placing the school's reputation in disrepute was that 74 percent of the approximately 13,000 LSBC members voted in denial of the university's accreditation of a proposed law school, and the approval was withdrawn. According to the Chief Justice, in his considered legal opinion the original permission was more than adequately supported by weighing issues and balancing constitutional rights.

Not that the controversy was restricted to British Columbia. The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society and the Law Society of Upper Canada also refused to give recognition to any potential TWU law school graduates. In Nova Scotia, a court ruled in favour of the university, while in Ontario a court ruled against the university; both decisions under appeal.

The school has not surrendered its ambition to open a law school, but it will keep its plans in abeyance until such time as the situation is fully resolved. The Chief Justice had ruled that the law society had infringed on the Charter right of freedom of religion of the university, as well as any students that would be enrolled at the law school whose freedom of religion would also be impacted by the adverse reactions.

Freedoms of association, expression and equality should ideally work for everyone; for the LGBTQ community, certainly, but not at the expense of the religious community whose values are not reflective of those of the LGBTQ community and their supporters. The LGBTQ community has been busy insisting that square pegs be pounded into round holes. They and their supporters label any within society who prefer values other than those insisted upon as indices as equality that society must bow to, infringe on the rights of others.

Some of those 'others' cringe at the very mention of a man marrying his husband, and a woman with a wife. If these same-sex couples believe they can raise children who will not be confused and puzzled by the absurdity of those labels or alternately owning them though they have not been genetically programmed to these gender differentials, they are bypassing reality.
"It’s a behavioural covenant and for students it means while you are attending TWU you commit to this. It is not a statement against same sex marriage or against gay and lesbian people. It is a statement that says when, in this community, we agree to act in this way and we will commit to one another to do that. Here is the Christian biblical basis that this community follows for why they have the behavioural covenant. You don’t have to believe in those or be Christian or be straight, you just have to understand this is how we are going to work and stay together. We invite you to join us if you want to commit to us in the same way."
"I think there’s a real threat that if the denial of accreditation to TWU by any of the individual law sites in Canada, if that is upheld, I think it brings into question the ability of people of faith to actually participate in the public sphere in Canada to actually manifest their beliefs as our Supreme Court of Canada repeatedly said we should have the right to. I think it affects all people of faith as well as institutions of faith including the universities."
Earl Phillips, executive director, Trinity Western University

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet