Yeshiva University Petitions Supreme Court To Preserve Religious Freedom By Blocking LBGTQ Club

Yeshiva University has been in an ongoing legal battle since a New York judge’s decision to allow an LBGTQ+ club to be recognized and to meet on campus, the University is now appealing to the Supreme Court.

“Must religious institutions abandon certain core tenets to operate in the public square?” That question, as phrased by The Federalist, is at the heart of the lawsuit being brought to the Supreme Court by Yeshiva University.

There is a growing tension in America surrounding the line between religious liberty and anti-discrimination laws. In this case, Yeshiva University filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to block the judge’s previous order requiring the University to recognize an LBGTQ group.

New York Supreme Court Judge Lynn Kotler ruled in favor of the student group on June 14. The court wrote, “Yeshiva’s organizing documents do not expressly indicate that Yeshiva has a religious purpose. Rather, Yeshiva organized itself as an ‘education corporation’ and for educational purposes, exclusively.”

Because Kotler ruled that the institution is not expressly religious, he ruled that Yeshiva must comply with New York City Human Rights laws, one of which prohibits discrimination on the basis of “gender, gender identification, or sexual orientation.” Not mentioned in the ruling is that those same laws list “Religion/Creed” as well.

The University disagreed with the ruling, describing itself as a “deeply religious Jewish University” that should be protected under those same human rights laws. Yeshiva immediately appealed to the next highest court, but when the appeal was denied on August 23, they went to SCOTUS.

Monday’s Supreme Court filing was addressed to Justice Sonia Sotomayor and it asks the court, “to reconsider whether religious protections in the First Amendment can be used to override the city’s human rights law, which Judge Kotler used as a basis for her June decision.”

The University is being represented by lawyers from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. In their filing, they state that Yeshiva is wholly committed to Torah values as represented by the University’s motto “Torah Umadda.”