Supreme Court Makes Decision in Yeshiva University Case Regarding LGBTQ Group

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U.S. Supreme Court justices dealt a temporary blow to a New York City Jewish university appealing LGBTQ campus club requirements.

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Yeshiva University appealed to the nation’s highest court after a New York court ordered it to comply with New York City Human Rights Law. The state court ordered the university to provide the Pride Alliance the same access to facilities as dozens of other student groups, such as a classroom, bulletin boards and a club fair booth.

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The Supreme Court ruling said the University had not exhausted state appellate avenues and instructed it to request expedited relief from them. The language of the high court order let NY courts know that failure to act quickly would result in the Supreme Court accepting the case, which the university will likely win.

The Washington Post further reported:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed course and said Yeshiva University in New York must for now comply with a state court’s order that it should recognize a campus gay rights organization.

On a 5-4 vote, the justices said the school, which describes itself as the “world’s premier Torah-based institution of higher education,” must for now comply with a New York state trial court ruling. The court said that as an educational institution, the school must comply with the New York City Human Rights Law and provide the Pride Alliance the same access to facilities as dozens of other student groups. The group said that includes a classroom, bulletin boards and a club fair booth.

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The university asked the Supreme Court to intervene, and last week Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted it a temporary reprieve. But on Wednesday a majority of the justices said the university has other options before the Supreme Court gets involved.

“It appears that applicants have at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief,” the court’s short order said. If those fail, Yeshiva can return to the Supreme Court. Though unsigned, it was the work of Sotomayor, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Justices Elena Kagan, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Four justices dissented, saying Yeshiva’s response to the student group was the result of “an interpretation of Torah … after careful study.”

“The First Amendment guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion, and if that provision means anything, it prohibits a State from enforcing its own preferred interpretation of Holy Scripture,” said the dissent, written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. “Yet that is exactly what New York has done in this case, and it is disappointing that a majority of this Court refuses to provide relief.”

Alito said the four are likely to grant the case if the university is unsuccessful in New York state appeals court and “Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us.”

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