LGBTQ Group Gets a Big Relief From Supreme Court

In the latest blow to religious freedom, the Supreme Court asked Yeshiva University, New York to recognize an LGBTQ+ community.

Yeshiva University is the largest community of undergraduate Jewish students in the United States. So, it denied the recognition of an LGBTQ group based on the school’s interpretation of Torah.

Major Defeat for Free Religious Practices

Last year, a Pride group took legal action against Yeshiva University, claiming the school does not recognize the LGBTQ group since they are not in accordance with the university’s interpretation of the Torah.

So, the New York state court backed the Pride group, claiming Yeshiva University did not follow the New York City Human Rights Law, according to which no one can be discriminated against based on their gender and sexual preferences.

Yeshiva University went to the Supreme Court to take a stay on the New York Court’s decision.

Initially, on September 9, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is mandated to see the procedural requests of New York, granted a stay to the university and diverted the case to the full bench of the Supreme Court.

Now, the Supreme Court’s complete bench overturned Sotomayor’s stay decision with a 5-4 vote in favor of the LGBTQ group. Two conservative justices, including Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts, sided with the liberal minority to overturn Sotomayor’s decision.

Though the Supreme Court did not dive deep into the case. It asked Yeshiva University to seek a stay on the decision from the lower courts before coming to the top court.

If the case comes back to the Supreme Court in the future, only then the top court will see the merits of the case.

Supreme Court Can Again Look Into Blocking of LGBTQ Club

Four conservative justices of the Supreme Court dissented from the ruling, stating New York ignored the religious rights of the Jewish school.

According to Justice Samuel Alito, the First Amendment provides an opportunity to exercise any religion freely, but the state of New York and the Supreme Court majority denied that right to the Jewish school. 

Katie Rosenfeld, the lawyer of the pride group, applauded the Supreme Court decision and called it a victory for the students of Yeshiva University.

Rosenfeld also asserted all LGBTQ students recognize the mission of the Jewish school, but still, the school’s administration is discriminating against them.

Furthermore, Rosenfield argued the protection of the LGBTQ community would not hinder the progress of Yeshiva University, adding the vulnerable group of students will have their own community to discuss their issues.

However, the president of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Ari Berman, noted the school would return to the lower courts to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision.

As every faith-based university is mandated to work with its students to allow only those communities allowed in their religion, Yeshiva University should also have a choice to make faith-based decisions, Berman added.

Berman also invited the LGBTQ community of Yeshiva University to work together for an inclusive campus, as per the teachings of the Torah.

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.