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Yeshiva University is forced to simply accept an LGBTQ club

(RNS) The U.S. Supreme Court surprised some observers Wednesday (Sept. 14) by deciding by way of a 5-4 vote against issuing an injunction against a fresh York state judges ruling that Yeshiva University, an Orthodox Jewish school in Manhattan, must recognize an LGBTQ club on campus.

With conservative Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh joining the courts three liberals, does this signal that theres now many on the court for allowing anti-discrimination laws to trump religious liberty using cases?

Most likely not.

In all probability, your choice reflected concern expressed publicly by Roberts and Elena Kagan lately concerning the courts so-called shadow docket, an extremely frequent mode of ruling, where cases are handled outside normal procedure. Here, an unsigned majority opinion told the university to return and seek injunctive rest from New Yorks own appellate courts, and clarified that the review ought to be expedited.


RELATED: SCOTUS says Yeshiva University must recognize LGBTQ club as legal battle continues


If hawaii courts decline to intervene, Yeshiva would then have the ability to interest the Supremes, who could issue an injunction should they consent to take the case. They would achieve this may be the safest of bets, since four justices wished to issue an injunction at this time, and to have a case four is all you have to.

Writing for the four dissenters, Justice Samuel Alito claimed that being designed to recognize the club, the YU Pride Alliance, would require Yeshiva to simply accept an interpretation of Torah that the university finds unacceptable, and that it could consequently be deprived of its free exercise of religion. The increased loss of First Amendment rights for a good short time constitutes irreparable harm, he wrote, a required standard that justifies injunctive relief.

Whether thats the case is debatable. NY Judge Lynn Kotler wrote in her June decision at trial, By following law and granting the YU Pride Alliance formal recognition and equal access, Yeshiva do not need to create a statement endorsing a specific viewpoint.

Moreover, Kotler described, LGBTQ clubs have existed in several Yeshiva graduate schools for a lot more than 30 years, quoting a conclusion within a 1995 letter by the universitys pr director:

Yeshiva University is at the mercy of the human rights ordinance of the town of NY, which gives protected status to homosexuals. Under this law, YU cannot ban gay student clubs. It must make facilities open to them very much the same since it does for other student groups.

The YU Pride Alliance could be seeking more in the form of recognized status than these other clubs. Nevertheless, it appears a stretch to guage the university to be suffering irreparable harm although it seeks judicial redress, denying even while that it accepts the Pride Alliances interpretation of Torah.

Be that as it might, Yeshivas central legal hurdle may be the consequence of its choosing, back the 1960s, to redefine itself legally as a purely educational rather than religious organization. It thus made itself ineligible for an exemption from the anti-discrimination rules of NY Citys Human Rights Law.

If so when the justices obtain the case back, theres nothing that says they couldnt decide that the universitys religious claims outweigh its official status in NY law. Indeed, Kotler herself acknowledged Yeshivas proud and rich Jewish heritage and a self-described mission to mix the spirit of Torah with strong secular studies.

Should that be sufficient reason to ignore its actual legal status as a college rather than a religious institution? And, if that’s the case, any kind of grounds for rejecting any institutions sincerely held religious claims to exemptions from anti-discrimination laws? If you can find, the Supreme Court as currently configured has yet to articulate them.

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