01/24/2014 11:09 EST | Updated 03/26/2014 05:59 EDT

Trinity Western Law Degree Stirs Controversy In N.S.


The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society says it will hold a public consultation on whether to recognize a law degree from Trinity Western University, the controversial Christian school in the Fraser Valley, B.C., with a policy against same-sex relationships.

The council approved the consultation on Friday.

The British Columbia government rubber stamped the creation of a faith-based law school at the university in December, despite concerns from gay and lesbian advocates.

All students at Trinity Western University must sign the TWU Community Covenant Agreement, which contains a clause requiring abstinence from "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman."

The covenant has sparked controversy in the legal world. In March more than 1,000 students from eight Canadian law schools signed letters protesting the efforts by TWU, claiming the university's policies discriminate against the LGBT community.

In Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University’s OutLaw Society is circulating a petition with their own complaint, asking the barristers’ society to not give the law school accreditation in the province. 

Leah Staples, president of the society, said it’s not acceptable for people who are supposed to be upholding the constitution to sign the covenant.

“The study of law mandates, central to it, is upholding the values that underpin our society and central to that, our values of equality,” she told CBC's Information Morning.

Staples said religious freedom shouldn't trump human rights, even though Trinity university is a private university.

British Columbia's minister of advanced education said Trinity Western does not receive any capital or operating funding from the government since it is a private institution.