News (USA)

Supreme Court to hear appeal from student group that bans gays

Supreme Court to hear appeal from student group that bans gays

US-Supreme-CourtThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from a Christian student group that had been denied recognition by a public law school in California for excluding gays, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The law school, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, part of the University of California, was sued in October 2004 by the Christian Legal Society, which requires voting members to sign a statement committing to “orthodox” evangelical Protestant or Catholic beliefs.

A student is ineligible, the group says, if he or she “advocates or unrepentantly engages in sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Hastings cited a campus policy barring discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion and sexual orientation when it refused to recognize a chapter of the Christian Legal Society in 2004.

The school withheld $250 that had been set aside to help officers travel to their organization’s national conference. The group then sued in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled in the law school’s favor in 2006, and his opinion was upheld earlier this year by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which had filed a brief supporting the law school in the Ninth Circuit, issued a statement on Monday urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the law school.

“Groups that wish to engage in discrimination should not expect public subsidies,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the organization’s executive director.

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