Supreme Court sides with Jewish university in LGBTQ case

In June, New York Supreme Court Justice Lynn Kotler ruled that an Orthodox Jewish university had to recognize an on-campus LGBTQ club.

The Supreme Court disagreed, however, and last Friday, it issued an order to temporarily block Kotler’s decision. 

“Commonsense” outcome

According to The Daily Wire, that order was signed by Justice Sonia Sotomayer and came in response to a request made by Yeshiva University, and it permits the school to continue its LGBTQ policy while the matter is being litigated.

The college is being represented by Becket, a non-profit law firm specializing in religious liberty cases. Eric Baxter serves as vice president and senior counsel at Becket, and he welcomed the news.

“Yeshiva shouldn’t have been forced to go all the way to the Supreme Court to receive such a commonsense ruling in favor of its First Amendment rights,” Baxter was quoted as saying in a statement to the Daily Wire.

“We are grateful that Justice Sotomayor stepped in to protect Yeshiva’s religious liberty in this case,” he went on to add.

When seeking emergency relief, the college argued that it “cannot comply with that [state court] order because doing so would violate its sincere religious beliefs about how to form its undergraduate students in Torah values.”

Lawsuits fly

In her June decision, Kotler sided with the Yeshiva Pride Alliance, which contended that Yeshiva “may not deny certain students access to the non-religious resources it offers the entire student community on the basis of sexual orientation.”

Kotler wrote, “Plaintiffs’ counsel correctly characterizes defendants’ argument on this point: defendants want this court to find that Yeshiva is a religious corporation in the same manner an ordinary person would describe themselves as a religious person.”

“There is no doubt that Yeshiva has an inherent and integral religious character which defines it and sets it apart from other schools and universities of higher education,” the judge acknowledged.

“However, Yeshiva must fit within the term ‘religious corporation’ as the legislature intended the term to mean in the [New York City Human Rights Law].”