High court backs public university’s nondiscrimination policy

The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal from the Christian Legal Society, which sued to get funding and recognition from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. U.C. Hastings’ policy for student organizations stated that groups that exclude people due to religious belief or sexual orientation, among other characteristics, could not be recognized or funded by the university.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Paul Smith of Jenner & Block LLP represent Outlaw, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender student group that intervened to defend Hastings’ nondiscrimination policy.

Rea Carey issued a statement applauding the court’s decision:

The Supreme Court ruled correctly in rejecting the challenge from the Christian Legal Society, which sought school funding and recognition despite being in clear violation of the college’s nondiscrimination policy. The court rightly found that the First Amendment rights of association, free speech and free exercise were not violated by Hastings’ decision. It simply said the college did not have to fund a group that violated the school policy requiring all recognized student groups to be open to every student. Schools all across the country are working to create welcoming environments for all students. This ruling supports that important effort. No school group or organization should be given public money to discriminate against other students.

The Task Force’s Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, program director of the Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources, said:

As a Christian minister who believes strongly in the separation of church and state and the full equality of all persons before the laws and Constitution of this country, I give thanks for this ruling. It is the right, just and moral one to make.