Beliefnet
Lynn v. Sekulow

Today,
Americans United is celebrating another victory – this time at the U.S. Supreme
Court.

This
morning, the high court upheld a policy at University of California, Hastings
College of the Law that prohibits school-subsidized clubs from engaging in
religious discrimination.

The
Christian Legal Society insisted that its student chapter should be exempt from
this policy and be able to discriminate against those who do not sign an
evangelical statement of faith or prevent students who engage in “unrepentant homosexual
conduct” from joining.

The
Supreme Court did not agree.  

Writing
for the 5-4 majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, found that Hastings’ policy
was constitutional and must be followed by all student groups.  

“In requiring CLS–in common with all other student
organizations–to choose between welcoming all students and forgoing the
benefits of official recognition, we hold, Hastings did not transgress
constitutional limitations,” wrote Ginsburg. “CLS, it bears emphasis, seeks not
parity with other organizations, but a preferential exemption from Hastings’
policy.”

The
court said Hastings open access policy was reasonable and ensured that
leadership, educational and social opportunities were available to all
students. The court also noted that since recognized student organizations
receive funds through the student-activity fees, the school’s policy ensures
“that no Hastings student is forced to fund a group that would reject her as a
member.”

Americans
United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in this case, and is pleased with the
court’s decision. Simply stated, the Christian Legal Society sought to ignore
rules that every other group complied with. The organization sought
preferential treatment simply because it is religious. Thankfully, the court
said no to that.

This
is a huge step forward for fundamental fairness and equal treatment. Religious
discrimination is wrong, and a public school should be able to take steps to
eradicate it. Today’s court ruling makes it easier for colleges and
universities to do that.

The case is  Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.

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