04/25/2014 04:49 EDT | Updated 06/25/2014 05:59 EDT

N.S. law society grants conditional approval for Trinity Western grads

Nova Scotia's bar society has voted to conditionally approve Trinity Western University's proposed new law school a day after barristers in Ontario ruled not to accredit the faith-based institution.

The B.C. university, which prohibits same-sex intimacy and bills itself as the largest independent Christian liberal arts institution in Canada, will open a law school in 2016.

At issue was Trinity Western's requirement that its 3,600 students sign a community covenant forbidding intimacy outside heterosexual marriage, which has been criticized as discriminatory against gays and lesbians.

The conditional acceptance means that the Nova Scotia's Barristers Society will only accept articling students from the school if it changes the covenant for law students or allows them to opt out.

The decision for the conditional accreditation was reached after the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society council met Friday in Halifax and voted 10 to nine in favour of the move.

The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society held public hearings on the issue earlier this year, in which legal experts condemned the Langley, B.C., school's policies.

Elaine Craig, a faculty member at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, told the society panel that endorsing the institution would amount to sanctioning "blatant and explicit discrimination" and is not consistent with Charter values.