Canada’s highest court ruled against the discrimination of LGBT persons in the name of religious freedom on Friday in a win for gay rights activists and a loss for Trinity Western University in British Columbia.
The evangelical university opened its law school in 2013, and applied for accreditation in every province so that its students could be called to the bar anywhere in Canada.
Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia law societies denied the school accreditation, on the grounds that it required all students to sign a covenant binding them to a code of conduct which banned sex outside the confines of heterosexual marriage.
Though lower courts had ruled in favor of the university, the Supreme Court determined the protection of LGBT students trumps religious liberty in this case:
"The (law society of British Columbia) has an overarching interest in protecting the values of equality and human rights in carrying out its functions," the court ruled. "Approving or facilitating inequitable barriers to the profession could undermine public confidence in the (law society's) ability to regulate in the public interest."