Supreme Court lets Yeshiva U temporarily block LGBTQ club

Yeshiva University may defer recognition of an LGBTQ student group as an official campus club following a Friday Supreme Court order.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees New York cases, stayed a state court order barring the Orthodox Jewish University from blocking the group.

The court indicated in its decision that it will have more to say on the subject in the future.

Four current and former students filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court last April after the college denied multiple applications to officially register the group as a student club.

The plaintiffs argued that not allowing such a group to be recognized alongside more than 100 other student clubs was discriminatory and violated New York’s human rights law.

New York State Judge Lynn Kotler ruled in favor of the group in June, saying that Yeshiva’s charter does not include it as a religious body, a category exempt from the state’s antidiscrimination law, and so the club must be formally registered.

The judge claimed that the university was not religious in its charter.
New York Judge Lynn Kotler ruled in favor of the group in June.
Yu Pride Alliance

Higher state courts denied Yeshiva’s appeal to temporarily disrecognize the club while his case is heard, prompting the university to file its petition with SCOTUS.

“We are pleased with Judge Sotomayor’s ruling, which protects our religious freedom and identity as a premier faith-based academic institution,” said Rabbi Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University.

“But make no mistake, we will continue to strive to create an environment that welcomes all students, including those in our LGBTQ community,” said Berman – who added that the administration is in dialogue with students, faculty and rabbis about the creation of an “inclusive campus” consistent with religious values.

Mordechai Levovitz, clinical director of Jewish Queer Youth and a Yeshiva University graduate, called the university an “authoritative voice” and questioned the legitimacy of the school’s decision not to recognize the group.

Four current and former students filed a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court last April.
Four current and former students filed a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court last April.
Getty Images

“There are 613 laws in the Torah,” said Mordechai Levovitz, clinical director of Jewish Queer Youth and a Yeshiva University graduate. “What law applies to the admission of a club for queer people, what law applies to this? Yeshiva is supposed to be a school that teaches Jewish law.”

“Yeshiva U is an authoritative voice,” Levovitz said. “They have stated that acknowledging that queer people are able to gather, find camaraderie in one another, and feel a sense of pride is a religious violation.”

“This isn’t about sex – this is about teenagers who want to have lunch together and talk about issues that concern them,” he added.

Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at The Becket Fund, which represents the university, said, “Yeshiva should not have been forced to go all the way to the Supreme Court to get such a reasonable decision in favor of her First Amendment rights . ”

The Becket Fund has been involved in other high-profile religious freedom cases, including a Jewish group that sued former Gov. Andrew Cuomo over COVID-19 restrictions, and hobbyist lobby shops opposing a mandate to provide contraceptives on religious grounds spoke to employees about its website.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/09/supreme-court-temporarily-lets-yeshiva-u-block-lgbtq-club/ Supreme Court lets Yeshiva U temporarily block LGBTQ club

JACLYN DIAZ

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