ABSTRACT. Constitutional courts have a major role to play in not only defining such concepts as “public interest” and “public harm” but also in contributing to the process of shaping society’s perceptions of acceptable boundaries of citizenship and defining which individuals and actions should be left outside the scope of the “morally acceptable.” In other words, constitutional courts are at the forefront of determining the extent to which the “plurality of values” can be accommodated in a democratic society, which interests take precedence and under what circumstances. This article examines the uncertain boundaries of “public interest” and the place of equality in regards to gay students within varying educational contexts. Through the examination of Trinity Western University case law, this article examines the capacity of judicial reasoning to either perpetuate violence or to find, identify and “transform the sources and effects of violence,” while recognizing the intersectionality of inequalities.

Keywords: “public interest”; balancing of constitutional rights; public sphere; gay identities

How to cite: Orlova, Alexandra V. (2017). “‘Public Interest,’ Judicial Reasoning and Violence of the Law: Constructing Boundaries of the ‘Morally Acceptable,’” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 9(2): 51–80.

Received 26 June 2017 • Received in revised form 14 August 2017
Accepted 15 August 2017 • Available online 1 September 2017


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The Department of Criminology,
Ryerson University

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