Yeshiva University must recognize an LGBTQ student group, a New York appeals court ruled last Thursday, Dec. 15.
YU Pride Alliance sued the school in 2021 seeking recognition as a student group. But Yeshiva University, an Orthodox Jewish school, has continuously refused to grant it recognition on religious grounds.
In the Appellate Division in Manhattan’s recent decision, however, the court found that recognizing the Pride Alliance would cause no violations of YU’s right to decide matters of faith and doctrine, right to free exercise of religion, or right to freedom of expression and association.
Moreover, the court held that YU does not meet the qualifications to be considered a “religious corporation,” which would exempt it from certain anti-discrimination protections in New York City Human Rights Law — a law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other protected categories, in public accommodations.
This marks the latest ruling in the YU Pride Alliance’s favor in a series of multiple recent court decisions.
In June, New York County Supreme Court Judge Lynn Kotler ruled that the Pride Alliance should be recognized. YU appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered the university to temporarily recognize the student group while the lawsuit returned to state court in a 5-4 decision.
However, the Supreme Court ruling said YU could return to the high court in the future, should it fail to find satisfaction in lower courts. Conservative Supreme Court justices expressed interest in reviewing the case.
Following the Supreme Court’s September decision, the YU chose to suspend all student clubs rather than recognize the Pride Alliance. After that action, the LGBTQ group offered to temporarily stay the Supreme Court’s decision so that other student activities would resume. YU also created a school-sanctioned LGBTQ group, which the Pride Alliance called a “sham.”
According to Reuters, YU said in a statement that it would continue appealing in an effort to defend against the claim that it is not a religious institution.
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