For immediate release from the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada
January 28, 2015
NOVA SCOTIA SUPREME COURT SENDS STRONG MESSAGE TO LAW SOCIETIES REFUSING TO RECOGNIZE CHRISTIAN LAW SCHOOL
OTTAWA – The judgment in the Trinity Western University (TWU) lawsuit against the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society was released this morning, with the judge ruling in favour of TWU. The 137-page decision sets out a robust defense of religious freedom, chiding the Barristers’ Society for attempting to impose its morality on a private Christian university. At paragraph 10, Justice Campbell writes, “The Charter is not a blueprint for moral conformity. Its purpose is to protect the citizen from the power of the state, not to enforce compliance by citizens or private institutions with the moral judgments of the state.”
The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada presented written and oral arguments as an intervener in Trinity Western University and Brayden Volkenant v. Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.
ARPA Canada’s Legal Counsel André Schutten was encouraged by today’s decision. “This decision corrects the false premise that members of Christian communities are somehow less suitable for public engagement in an increasingly secular society. It affirms that the door to Canada’s public square is still open for Christians, even as society is abandoning Christian principles. Equality does not mean that the State, also as represented by the law societies, can force a particular moral belief about sexuality on all citizens.”
Mark Penninga, Executive Director of ARPA Canada, was grateful to read the strong words by the judge in favour of religious freedom. “It leaves no question that if religious freedom is really a constitutionally protected right, it cannot be undermined simply because a person or organization doesn’t like that someone else holds themselves to moral guidelines they disagree with.” Penninga added, “This decision is a gust of wind in the sails of the proposed Christian law school and for freedom in general. It reveals the irony that the law societies which claim to be upholding diversity are the ones most in violation of our fundamental freedoms.”
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For further comment, contact ARPA’s legal counsel André Schutten. He can be reached at his Ottawa office at 613-297-5172. To read ARPA Canada’s intervenor brief, visit TWU Intervenor Brief. A copy of Justice Campbell’s decision can be found here.