New Brunswick University criticized for anti-gay hiring policy

Private Christian school defends right to insist employees follow its religious beliefs, which only include heterosexual relationships
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 07/31/2012

A Christian university in New Brunswick is under fire for a hiring policy that excludes people who live a gay lifestyle.

Crandall University is a private Christian liberal arts school located in Moncton, N.B. Under provincial legislation, the university, as a religious community, has the right to educate students based on Christian beliefs and grant degrees in accord with a Christian viewpoint.

As part of its Christian beliefs, the university has a moral code that requires its employees to follow a lifestyle in accordance with its values. The policy used to outright ban homosexual relationships, but was changed two years ago to stipulate employees must “be sexually pure, reserving sexual intimacy for within a traditional marriage between one man and one woman.”

When this policy recently became public, controversy ensued because Crandall University receives funding from the New Brunswick government. However, premier David Alward soon pointed out the funding was not for operational purposes.

Crandall vice-president Seth Crowell told the CBC that the institution had a right as an established religious community to operate under its value system and the hiring policy “isn't an attack against anybody but a statement in terms of a faith position.” He also said the public funding was for job incentives and function expenses to support the Crandall’s role in the “societal fabric, which includes a lot of organizations of faith.”

Though Crandall’s student president told the CBC many students don’t support the policy and there was sentiment in the legal community that the university was breaching New Brunswick’s human rights code, there has yet to be a human rights challenge of the policy.

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