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HALIFAX — The lawyer for a Christian university in British Columbia says the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society doesn’t have the authority to deny accreditation to graduates of the university’s proposed law school.

Brian Casey told Nova Scotia Supreme Court today that the barristers’ society overstepped its bounds when it decided in April it would ban graduates from Trinity Western University from the province’s bar admission program unless the school dropped a requirement that students abstain from sex outside heterosexual marriage.

The requirement, spelled out in a pledge that all students sign, has been criticized as discriminatory against gays and lesbians.

Casey says the court should overturn the law society’s regulation on the grounds that it infringes on the future students’ charter rights of freedom of association, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

He says Judge Jamie Campbell has to decide whether those rights are in conflict with the right of individuals not to face discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Casey says there is no conflict because the law society has failed to produce any evidence that the proposed law school in Langley, B.C., would harm anyone in Nova Scotia.

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