University

In New York, a Jewish university refuses to recognize an association of LGBTQ + students

The presence of an LGBTQ+ student body at a private Jewish university in New York is causing controversy. Yeshiva University (YU), which welcomes more than 5,000 students, filed an urgent appeal in late August to the country’s Supreme Court to settle a lawsuit against it by a student group, the YU Pride Alliance, which organizes outreach and inclusive admissions events. The institution, which is part of the Modern Orthodox movement, refuses to allow the association to meet on campus.

In his petition to the highest judicial body in the land, Yeshiva University, presenting himself as a “A deeply religious Jewish university», claimed that recognition of the association would violate his sincere religious convictions on how to train his students in Torah values”. The institution is justified by respect for religious freedom, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The complaint followed a ruling in June by a New York state court that granted the association official recognition on campus.

The request was denied

However, the Supreme Court, in a response from Wednesday, September 14, refused to consider the case, relying on the lower courts. “The motion is denied because it appears that plaintiffs have at least two other options for summary judgment or summary judgment in state court,” said the judges.

Decision interpreted as a “victory” camp of the LGBTQ+ association, according to Katie Rosenfeld, a lawyer for the youth group, which will be able to continue its activities until the next court decision. The university is therefore forced to recognize the association at least for the 2022-2023 school year.

Suspension of student clubs

In response, Yeshiva University management decided to suspend all college clubs to comply “a road map provided by the United States Supreme Court to protect religious freedom” institution, according to the email sent to the student.

The ban represents another twist in a legal dispute that has been ongoing for several years surrounding the admission of LGBTQ+ students at this university. Already in 2020, seven student activists filed a discrimination complaint with the New York Human Rights Commission.

anti-discrimination law

The core of the dispute is the ambiguous status of the university, founded in 1897 as the so-called yeshiva, a school of Talmud studying and training future rabbis. After becoming a private university, the facility is now referred to on its website as a “a multifaceted institution that combines the knowledge of Western civilization and the rich treasures of Jewish culture” and host diplomas in the subjects of the so-called “dishonor”.

Officially, this institution therefore does not have the status of a religious organization and must comply with the law in force in the state of New York, which prohibits discrimination on several grounds, including identity and sexual orientation.

If the Supreme Court ultimately hears the case, however, the ruling could prove the establishment right: Since conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett arrived on the Supreme Court in 2020, referrals in religious liberty cases have almost always upheld the faith. institutions.

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