LANGLEY, British Columbia, November 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A prominent constitutional and civil rights lawyer known for his work on behalf of arch-abortionist Henry Morgentaler has denounced as “perverse” and “silliness” the Christian beliefs of Trinity Western University (TWU), which has a pending application for accreditation as Canada’s first Christian law school. In particular, Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby singled out the school’s community covenant that requires students to reserve “sexual intimacy” for the “sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman,” something he suggested is “illegal” because it would curtail homosexual sex.
TWU President Bob Kuhn has shot back, calling Ruby's “absurd” and “defamatory” in a response.
Ruby argued last week in The Province that law schools are not a place for Christian belief.
“A minority within Christianity is entitled to believe that being gay is antithetical to Christianity; that it is an abomination,” said Ruby. “They are entitled to teach such silliness and try to persuade others to adopt that view. But we should remember that though they assert that the Bible is the sacred authority, and must be accepted literally, law schools ought to accept and teach the Constitution.”
Ruby argued that TWU’s community covenant “means gay sex is forbidden, even in marriage.”
“That imposes an unconstitutional definition of marriage on its students and staff,” he wrote in an Oct. 29 piece titled, “Trinity Western’s anti-gay discrimination is illegal conduct, not just silly belief.”
“It is appalling that such perverse thinking exists after all the progress Canada has made and our national commitment to equality,” he wrote. “Canada should move forward, not backwards – as should its legal profession.”
Ruby, in addition to his work for Morgentaler, is also now acting as counsel for accused child pornographer Benjamin Levin. In 2001 Ruby came out swinging against the constitutionally guaranteed funding of Catholic schools in Ontario, while in August he made an appearance without intervenor status in the trial of pro-life heroine Linda Gibbons to argue her culpability.
Quoting the Supreme Court decision against Bill Whatcott earlier this year that stated that homosexual activity can no longer be criticized apart from the individuals who engage in it, Ruby argued that “being gay is part of one’s identity, as is religion or race.”
“That is the law in Canada,” he said.
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In a response issued the next day, TWU President Bob Kuhn accused Ruby of “misrepresent[ing] the facts” and “misconstru[ing] the University’s community covenant” in suggesting that the University is “acting illegally in maintaining its religious definition of marriage.”
“This is not only absurd, it is defamatory — not just to TWU but to the millions of people of faith across Canada who hold similar religious beliefs.”
Kuhn pointed out that when Parliament changed the definition of marriage in 2005 to include same-sex couples, “it also stated that religious freedom would be protected.” The text of the law stated: “WHEREAS nothing in this Act affects the guarantee of freedom of conscience and religion and, in particular, the freedom of members of religious groups to hold and declare their religious beliefs” and “WHEREAS it is not against the public interest to hold and publicly express diverse views on marriage.”
“What part of this do you not understand, Mr. Ruby,” Kuhn wrote in his piece, which also appeared in The Province.
Stating that Trinity Western does not exclude gays and lesbians, Kuhn wondered what motivated Ruby’s attack.
“Your issue appears to focus on the fact that the University holds this religious understanding of marriage,” he said. But, “It is not just Trinity Western University, ‘affiliated with a tiny Christian church’ as you put it, that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Many Christian churches, including the largest denomination in Canada, the Roman Catholic Church, as well as many other religions, including Muslims, Sikhs and Jews, define marriage the same way.”
“Please understand, Mr. Ruby, that your attacks on TWU are equally offensive to many people of religion.”
Don Hutchinson, Vice President and General Legal Counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said that after debating Ruby about the Christian law school last month on a CBC program, he felt as if the lawyer was attempting to “place me in a cage”.
“Clayton repeatedly made his point that in Canada ‘we have the highest respect for everyone’s religion as long as religion is in the area of worship…. But when it comes to action, then the limits of freedom of expression are met.’ In the same breath he also advocated that gays and lesbians have to be free to express their sexual orientation in action, or their freedom is being constrained,” Hutchinson said.
“And here I confess, until Wednesday morning Clayton was ‘Mr. Ruby’ to me; an influential historic legal figure who has held some significant positions of responsibility in our profession. Now, he’s just another lawyer demonstrating his bias through a willingness to pull quotes out of context from Supreme Court of Canada decisions to make his point.”
According to a U.S. survey of almost 700 major corporations, law firms are bending over backwards, more than any other industry, to offer equitable benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. Seventy-one of about 140 law firms surveyed received a perfect score on one index measuring 40 LGBT policies and practices.
If its accreditation is successful, Trinity Western’s School of Law will open September 2015. The School of Law will address “areas of real need in the current law school options, by focusing on social justice, charities law and entrepreneurial law, and it will also develop lawyers with a focus on service,” the university’s website states.