Yeshiva University announced the creation of a university-sanctioned LGBTQ group recently, as it continues its legal fight to avoid recognizing the YU Pride Alliance.
In a letter sent to students and faculty last Monday, YU administration emphasized the “religious growth” that the new Kol Yisrael Areivim Club will facilitate.
According to The Hill, which viewed the letter, the university called the new group a “traditional Orthodox alternative to YU Pride Alliance.”
The YU Pride Alliance, a student group, first sued YU last year after the university refused to recognize it. The Pride Alliance alleged that the college was violating the New York State Human Rights Law.
On Sept. 14, after a year of legal fights, the Supreme Court ordered YU to temporarily recognize the Pride Alliance while the lawsuit returned to state court. YU then suspended all student activity on campus to avoid having to recognize the Pride Alliance, and a few days later, the Pride Alliance offered to stay the court order so student activity could resume.
Following the announcement about the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club, the Pride Alliance called the move a “desperate stunt” meant to distract from its lawsuit.
“The YU sham is not a club as it was not formed by students, is not led by students, and does not have members; rather, it is a feeble attempt by YU to continue denying LGBTQ students equal treatment as full members of the YU student community,” the group said in a statement seen by Metro Weekly.
In an additional statement on the YU Pride Alliance’s website, the group said students found it meaningful that YU “finally expressed an openness to allowing an LGBTQ club on campus after years of stalling.”
However, the statement criticized the administration for failing to involve students in the process of developing the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club. It also expressed concern that students may be told parts of their identities are unacceptable.
Bloomberg Law reported that Becket Fund for Religious Liberty vice president and senior counsel Eric Baxter said YU would proceed with its legal fight with the Pride Alliance because YU wants to defend its “ability to make religious decisions generally.”
In its statement to Metro Weekly, the Pride Alliance similarly said it would “continue to fight for our rights.”
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