New York appeals court orders Yeshiva University to recognize LGBT club

Orthodox Jewish college loses case in New York State appeals court, but is expected to turn to US Supreme Court again with First Amendment rights claim.

By World Israel News Staff

Yeshiva University faced yet another legal setback Thursday, with a New York appeals court ruling against the Jewish college’s claim that it does not have to recognize an LGBT student group.

The Appellate Division in Manhattan handed down the ruling ordering Yeshiva University to recognize the YU Pride Alliance, after the Supreme Court declined to intervene while the case was still pending in the appeals system.

The appellate court upheld a decision by a lower court and supported by a ruling handed down by the New York State Supreme Court that since the Manhattan-based school is officially nonsectarian, it is bound to comply with the New York City Human Rights Law and cannot discriminate against anyone based on sexual orientation.

Thursday’s ruling found the school does not qualify as a religious corporation, and thus cannot be extended the protections a religious institution would enjoy.

As part of the ruling, the four judges unanimously rejected the argument that forcing Yeshiva University to recognize an LGBT club would violate First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.

YU Pride Alliance attorney Katie Rosenfeld lauded Thursday’s ruling, and criticized what she called YU’s attempt to “discriminate against its LGBTQ+ students by continuing its refusal to recognize the YU Pride Alliance.”

In September, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 not to take up Yeshiva University’s appeal, noting that the school still had two pending appeals on the state level.

The ruling was therefore technical in nature, and the judges made clear that if YU lost their appeals, it could turn back to them to hear the case.