Yeshiva University must recognize LGBTQ club, rules U.S. Supreme Court

Yeshiva University argued that officially permitting an LGBTQ club on campus is in stark contrast to the institution’s religious values.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

In a 5-4 decision announced on Wednesday, the Supreme Court denied a request from Yeshiva University asking it to block a lower court’s ruling, which would force them to officially recognize an LGBTQ student club.

Justices John G. Roberts, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh wrote that “the application is denied because it appears that applicants have at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief.”

Because Yeshiva University (YU) still has pending appeals in lower courts, the Supreme Court declined to intervene at this stage of the legal battle.

In the future, the ruling noted that should YU exhaust all of its appeals in the lower-tier courts, this case “may return to this court.”

Last Friday, the Supreme Court temporarily froze the lower court’s order that YU recognize the LGBTQ club, as it researched the case further and debated as to whether to hear the case.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case at this time ended the temporary block on the lower court ruling, so YU may be forced to temporarily recognize the club as litigation is ongoing.

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“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,” wrote dissenting Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

“Yet that is exactly what New York has done in this case. Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us.”

YU, a Modern Orthodox Jewish college based in New York, argued that officially permitting an LGBTQ club on campus is in stark contrast to the institution’s religious values.

“As a deeply religious Jewish university, Yeshiva cannot comply with that order because doing so would violate its sincere religious beliefs about how to form its undergraduate students in Torah values,” YU wrote in its requested to the Supreme Court.

However, activists have claimed that because YU accepts public funding, it is subject to New York’s anti-discrimination laws applying to LGBTQ people, and that it cannot claim a religious exemption from those policies due to it offering secular degrees.