Yeshiva University can wait recognize a LGBTQ student group as an official college club following Friday’s Supreme Court order.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees New York cases, suspended a state court order barring the Orthodox Jewish college from blocking the group.
The court, in its order, indicated that it would have more to say on the subject in the future.
Four current and former students filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court last April after the college rejected several requests 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 in violation of New York’s human rights law.
New York State Judge Lynn Kotler ruled in favor of the group in June – declaring that Yeshiva is not a religious society under its charter, a category exempt from the state’s anti-discrimination law, and must therefore officially register the club.
Higher state courts have rejected Yeshiva’s appeals to temporarily not recognize the club while the case is heard on its merits, prompting the university to file its petition with SCOTUS.
“We are pleased with Judge Sotomayor’s decision which protects our religious freedom and our identity as a leading 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 from our LGBTQ community,” said Berman – who added that the administration is in dialogue with students, teachers and rabbis on creating an “inclusive”. campus” in accordance with religious values.
Mordechai Levovitz, clinical director of Jewish Queer Youth and alumnus of Yeshiva University, called the university “an authoritative voice” and questioned the legality of the school’s decision not to recognize the group.
“There are 613 laws in the torah,” said Mordechai Levovitz, clinical director of Jewish Queer Youth and a former student at Yeshiva University. “What law accepts a club of queer people, what law applies to that? The Yeshiva is supposed to be a school that teaches Jewish law.
“Yeshiva U is an authoritative voice,” Levovitz said. “They said recognizing that gay people can come together, find camaraderie in each other, feel a sense of pride is a religious violation.”
“It’s not about sex – it’s about teenagers wanting to have lunch together and talk about issues affecting them,” he added.
Eric Baxter, Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund, representing the university, said, “Yeshiva should not have had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to receive such a sensible decision in favor of its rights. to the first amendment. ”
The Becket Fund has been involved in other high-profile religious freedom cases, including a Jewish group that sued former Governor Andrew Cuomo over COVID-19 restrictionsand Hobby Lobby stores that opposed to a mandate to provide contraceptives to employees for religious reasons, according to its website.