Here in Canada, we enjoy legal same-sex marriage in all of our provinces and territories. We were actually the fourth country to legalize it, which makes me very proud to be a Canadian.
University of Ottawa law student Stéphane Erickson wrote an excellent opinion piece in the Globe & Mail about how the upcoming Trinity Western law school is in the wrong for discriminating against students who are in relationships with partners of the same sex.
But all legal jargon aside; let’s call a spade a spade. This is wrong. It’s plain wrong. Denying access to education – above all legal education – based on one’s sexual orientation or lifestyle choices is wrong. Whether it’s a private institution or a public institution, it remains wrong. It’s wrong because it is hateful. It conveys the message that religion can indeed be used as shield, as a cloak, to discriminate, to judge and to perpetuate vile and harmful ideas – be it against women, ethnicities, sexual minorities, or other contributors to society that have been historically and systematically forced to silence, to shame, to the periphery.Erickson has a good if not tragic point; he is himself a gay Roman Catholic. The Vatican has a huge problem with homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
His questions are good ones. How can a single law school respect both secular laws and their bronze age mythology at the same time? How can they serve two masters?
At the end of his piece, he asks this poignant question.
I therefore ask this of Canada’s soon-to-be law school: If a person is gay and loves another person of the same sex, and seeks to further his or her understanding of the law, notably in the areas of religious freedoms, and has good will, on which authority do you stand to judge him or her?My answer is a simple one. They base it on their book, naturally. How could they do otherwise?
This new institution is for young students who ultimately wish to learn about the LAW. This is more than the petty laws of humans; those which have helped bring about some measure of equality for men who love men and women who love women. These young minds will learn how to fold and bend human temporal laws to serve their ultimate religious law, to serve their mission.
I think this will be a school which enslaves the law of the land to the verses of a book which would ultimately have gays and lesbians regulated back to their historical position of persecution.
Erickson deftly expresses concerns that underlie my objections to the school and no doubt the objections of many others.
The obvious questions follow: How is a law school, which does not recognize the legitimacy of civil unions, same-sex marriage, and non-traditional family structures, going to ensure an accurate and sincere legal education? How is the Charter going to be taught with respect to women’s rights, LGBT rights, and other issues pertaining to sections 15 and 7? Moreover, and maybe most importantly, how is the school going to ensure that students feel safe in an environment morally bound by religious doctrine and skewed interpretations of sacred texts? All these questions have been asked, with no – or very few – answers from the University.I think the answer is apparent. They have no real intention of doing this. This is why they require their own separate school. This is why they have cloistered themselves away. Society is growing increasingly suspicious and intolerant of their attitudes towards LGBT rights.
Canadian society and its laws have become a hostile place full of scorn and ridicule for those who do not approve of the increasing public acceptance of LGBT people. They cannot tolerate LGBT people being in relationships with those they love, marrying, having or adopting children -- living their lives and treated like human beings.
The condemnation of the homosexual lifestyle as a kind of sickness by the religious seems more and more ridiculous and vile with each passing day. As multiple sexual orientations and gender identities become ever more normalized in a more broadly inclusive society, it is these people who are left in the dust. Frankly, they start looking like the religious who were on the wrong side of the civil rights movement.
I believe the creators of this new law school don't like the direction things are going. Maybe they will try to raise an army of lawyers to swing the pendulum backwards. One can only hope they fail.