Sonia Sotomayor Blocks Order Forcing Yeshiva University To Officially Recognize Gay Student Group


On Friday, Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted an injunction against Yeshiva University, blocking the implementation of a New York trial court order requiring the school to officially recognize a group of homosexual students.

YU Pride Alliance sued the 134-year-old Jewish college for recognition, claiming the school was a “place or provider of public accommodations” under New York state law. In June, New York Supreme Court Justice Lynn R. Kotler ruled that Yeshiva was an “educational society” and not a religious organization, which would be exempt from state laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender. sexual orientation.

The two-sentence document gave no reason to grant the request filed on August 29 by the oldest Jewish university in the country. However, Judge Sotomayor said the injunction will remain in effect until she or the full court issues a “new order” in the case.

“The yeshiva should not have been forced to go all the way to the Supreme Court to receive such a sensible decision in favor of its First Amendment rights,” said Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the school. .

“We are grateful that Judge Sotomayor stepped in to protect Yeshiva’s religious freedom in this case,” he added.

In its filing last month, the school challenged the New York court’s notion that the school had “no right to control how its religious beliefs and values ​​are interpreted or applied on its campuses,” because it offered “too many secular degrees” and did not benefit from the exemption provided by law for religious organizations.

“We are pleased with Judge Sotomayor’s decision which protects our religious freedom and our identity as a leading faith-based academic institution,” Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, said in a statement. “But make no mistake, we will continue to strive to create an environment that welcomes all students, including those in our LGBTQ community.”

He said the school will continue to speak with its students, rabbis and professors about how to be inclusive while adhering to the values ​​found in the Torah, which includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible and corresponds to the first five. ancient Christian books. Testament, namely the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Yeshiva attorneys said the school requires all undergraduate students to “engage in intense religious studies,” which can last up to four and a half hours a day.

A spokeswoman for the YU Pride Alliance told The Washington Times via email that the student organization “will await a final order from the Supreme Court. It remains committed to creating a safe space for LGBTQ students on the YU campus. to build community and support each other without discrimination.

Yeshiva’s application to the High Court drew briefs of support from dozens of groups, including the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, the Association of Christian Schools International, the International Alliance for Christian Education, the Association for Biblical Higher Education and American Association of Christian Schools.

Another brief was filed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York; the United States Council of Catholic Bishops; evangelical schools Houston Baptist University, Liberty University and Wheaton College; the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University, Biola University, and Cedarville University.

The school’s decision to blunt the lower court’s decision also drew opposition. On Thursday, Campus Pride placed Yeshiva University on its “worst list” listing because, according to the group, “it has a long and well-documented history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination.”


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