SCOTUS: Religious school must recognize LGBTQ club, for now

Education

(NewsNation) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday declined a request to block a New York judge’s order that an Orthodox Jewish university recognize a LGBTQ group.

In the unsigned 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court said Yeshiva University had not yet sought all possible avenues of relief from New York state courts. The ruling means the university will have to, at least temporarily, recognize the group while it pursues a further appeal.

“If applicants seek and receive neither expedited review nor interim relief from the New York courts, they may return to this Court,” the Supreme Court said.

The private, Orthodox Jewish college contended the recognition of the LGBTQ group, the “YU Pride Alliance” would “violate its sincere religious beliefs.”

A court in New York struck down Yeshiva’s argument, which included a contention it already had a recognized Pride group on campus, and ordered the school to recognize the YU Pride Alliance. The lower court used a city law in New York to mandate the school’s recognition of the group.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s liberal bloc in denying the stay. Justice Samuel Alito, joined by the court’s remaining three justices, dissented, saying the lower courts could take “months to rule” even if Yeshiva pursues an expedited review of its appeal, which the majority said is one of its avenues for relief.

“Thus, an expedited appeal in and of itself would not be sufficient to protect Yeshiva’s First Amendment rights,” Alito wrote.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has jurisdiction over the lower court, granted a temporary stay of the order last week to give the full court more time to act.

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has agreed to hear this case this fall but refused to issue a stay of the trial judge’s order. The Supreme Court said the school could ask the state appeals court to reconsider that decision, citing a direction given a clerk’s office.

Alito called that interpretation of the lower court proceedings “dubious.”

“I doubt that Yeshiva’s return to state court will be fruitful, and I see no reason why we should not grant a stay at this time,” he wrote.

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