In a show of solidarity with the LGBTTI community, CUPE officials and staff have written multiple letters opposing a proposed law school that would discriminate against LGBTTI students.
CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh and CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn each wrote a letter to their provinces’ respective law societies, asking them to refuse to accept degrees from Trinity Western University for the practice of law in the province.
TWU requires all of its students to abstain from same-sex intimacy, or face possible expulsion. Provincial law societies regulate lawyers. Without law society approval, graduates of TWU will not be able to practice law in the province.
CUPE New Brunswick President Danny Légère intends to write to the Law Society of New Brunswick, which is considering the issue in June. CUPE Legal Branch Director Nancy Rosenberg also wrote Ontario’s Law Society on behalf of CUPE’s legal branch. In his letter, Hahn noted “as an openly gay trade union leader, I have a personal stake in this issue, and know from experience how devastating and damaging such discrimination is on LGBTTI people.”
Rosenberg’s letter pointed out how discrimination creates limited access to the legal profession. “In the context of scarce law school positions for access to the profession, TWU’s proposed law school would create a discriminatory quota,” wrote Rosenberg. “It cannot be in the public interest… to contribute to this kind of labour market discrimination.”
Law societies in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario are currently debating the issue. The Ontario debate is expected to continue on April 24. The B.C. law society has already approved the new school. Other law societies may consider the matter in the future.