Orthodox Jewish University Forced to Have LGBTQ Club

Posted on Tue 09/20/2022 by


SCOTUS majority sends the case back to the lower courts to exhaust options.

New York City’s Yeshiva University, one of the oldest Jewish universities in the nation, is under attack. As an Orthodox Jew-professing university, it has some scripturally based objections to homosexual lifestyle choices. But there is a group of Yeshiva students that has filed a Rainbow Mafia lawsuit to force the school to allow and accept an LGBTQ+ club called Yeshiva University Pride Alliance.

The university has fought this lawsuit in the lower courts and lost. The school sought an emergency stay from the Supreme Court so that the club couldn’t be forced upon it while it was filing appeals and trying to bring its case to the highest court in the land.

Interestingly enough, SCOTUS initially did grant the emergency petition, and it was Justice Sonia Sotomayor who granted it. Sadly, on Thursday, the Court decided in a 5-4 decision that SCOTUS would not keep the emergence stay. The majority — which consisted of Justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Katanji Brown Jackson — explained that Yeshiva University still had litigation it needed to pursue in the lower courts in terms of appeals.

Katie Rosenfeld, the attorney who is representing the LGBTQ+ club students, said, “We are confident that we will continue to overcome the administration’s aggressive litigation strategies against its own LGBTQ+ students, who choose to attend Yeshiva University because they are committed to the school’s mission.”

The school’s stated mission is to bring wisdom to its students through academic excellence but also through “the ethical and moral values that will make them truly admirable people.” The school adds, “It is our dual emphasis on professional excellence and personal ethics that give our graduate students the wisdom to succeed in both their professions and their lives.” An LGBTQ+ lifestyle is not moral by Jewish teachings (and Christian teachings as well). Rosenfeld must not be very familiar with the moral and ethical teachings of Orthodox Judaism.

Those justices in the minority — Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch — were adamant that Yeshiva University deserved an emergency stay because New York’s courts were flagrantly infringing on the school’s First Amendment rights. Alito wrote the dissent, saying that the First Amendment “guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion, and if that provision means anything, it prohibits a State from enforcing it’s own preferred interpretation of Holy Scripture. Yet that is exactly what New York State has done in this case, and it is disappointing that a majority of this Court refuses to provide relief.”

This is not the final say in this debate. There is a chance that Yeshiva University, should it complete the remaining appeals and attempts at stays through the lower courts (and be denied them as is expected), can bring its case back to SCOTUS. In the meantime, the lower courts’ decisions force Yeshiva to accept this club that is diametrically opposed to Orthodox Judaism. New York is wrongly forcing its progressive liberalism worldview on this university.

Yeshiva’s case has major implications for the rest of the country. Mark Rienzi, president of the Becket Fund, which is representing Yeshiva, stated the situation perfectly: “The stakes couldn’t be higher, not just for Yeshiva but for the country. That’s why people of many different faiths filed briefs asking the court to protect Yeshiva. If Yeshiva can’t even make religious decisions on its own campus, then no religious group is safe from government control.”

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