Religious school must admit LGBTQ rights club – for now

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court said Yeshiva University of New York must (for now) comply with a previous state court ruling that it should recognize a gay rights organization on campus.

In 2019, the LGBTQ group Pride Alliance first sought recognition from the university and then sued in April 2021. They said, according to BNC News“the school was required to accede to his request because it is a public accommodation covered by the anti-discrimination law”.

Yeshiva University was founded in 1897 as a religious Jewish university. Although it included more secular programs, it retained its religious values. In court documents, school officials “concluded after consulting with Jewish religious scholars that an official LGBTQ club would be inconsistent with its religious values.” While a state court has already ruled that the university must recognize the LGBTQ Pride Alliance, but the university plans to appeal, so it asked the Supreme Court to allow it to ignore the state court decision while she was going through this process.

Given that the Supreme Court is leaning towards the conservatives, this decision means that some of the justices on the political right have switched to the liberal side – Roberts and Kavanaugh – to reject this specific request, but not to decide that they must finally recognize the group. . Four justices disagreed to even deny the request, and Justice Alito wrote that perspective, which was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

“The First Amendment guarantees the right to free exercise of religion, and if that provision means anything, it prohibits a state from enforcing its own preferred interpretation of Holy Scripture. Yet that is exactly what New York did in this case, and it is disappointing that a majority of this Court refuses to grant relief.

(Going through The Washington Post)

Unfortunately, ruling that the university must comply with the state court’s ruling in the interim isn’t much of a change from recent rulings against marginalized genders that the court is known for. As Voice points out, the Court gave Yeshiva’s lawyers advice on how to move forward and sided against them, in this particular case, only “because it appears that the plaintiffs have at least two other expedited or interim state court remedies” – that’s because they jumped straight to the Supreme Court before trying all of their other options.

The Supreme Court’s decision said, “Petitioners may ask the New York courts to expedite the merits of their appeal,” the Supreme Court told them, and that they “may file with the Division of Appeal a corrected motion for leave to appeal the decision of this tribunal”. denial of stay at the New York Court of Appeals.

Alito is known to side with religious conservatives, and with this guideline, if the New York appeals courts do not rule in Yeshiva’s favor, the case can go back to the Supreme Court. Not only was this possible return implied when the claim was dismissed “without prejudice,” but the Supreme Court’s decision also explicitly stated, “If claimants do not seek and receive expedited review or interim relief from the courts of New York, they can return to this Court. .”

This will give the university another chance to get a 5th vote to get a majority. Until then, we can only hope that LGBTQ students attending college are somehow protected.

(Going through Voicefeatured image: Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

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