Last month the BC Court of Appeal said that the Law Society of BC had made a procedural and substantive mistake in saying that it would not accredit graduates of a TWU law school. This month, the Law Society has agreed to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
You will recall that the dispute over accrediting graduates of TWU centres on TWU's insistence that all of its faculty, staff, and students sign a pledge not to have sex outside of HETEROSEXUAL marriage. For any queer faculty or staff- no sex forever. For students, no sex while at university.
This is a patently discriminatory requirement. TWU justifies it on the basis that it is part of their religious belief.
The Law Society of BC (LSBC) originally voted in favour of accrediting TWU's law school graduates to practice law. The profession rose up en masse and voted at the largest-in-history public meeting by more than 70% to overturn that decision. Not satisfied that the will of the profession was clear, the LSBC then held a paper referendum, agreeing to be bound the the results. Once again the legal profession voted overwhelmingly to uphold the rights of queers to be free from discrimination. Then LSBC reversed its accreditation decision.
Predictably, TWU took LSBC to court, as they have done in other provinces where law societies have turned them down. Most notably, in Ontario the Court of Appeal came to the opposite decision from the BC Court of Appeal.
This means that the Supreme Court of Canada is likely to hear the appeal from BC and Ontario together (The SCC hears only some of the cases it is requested to hear, and centres on cases of public interest).
We will keep you posted. This will be the most important case in the country to draw the line between freedom of religion and freedom of expression.