By Brody Levesque, Washington Blade
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in a 5-4 vote declined a request from Yeshiva University in New York to block a New York County Supreme Court order that requires the university to recognize the “Pride Alliance” LGBTQ student club.
Last week Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a brief order, granted an emergency request made by Yeshiva University to temporarily block the order by New York County Supreme Court judge who had ruled this past June that Yeshiva was bound by the New York City Human Rights Law, which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In its order, the high court noted that the New York state courts had yet to issue a final order in the case, and that Yeshiva could return to the Supreme Court after the New York courts had acted.
The university argued that it is a religious institution and therefore should be exempted from the law. Requiring it to endorse the group would be a “clear violation” of its rights under the First Amendment, which protects the free exercise of religion, lawyers for the school said in court documents.
The court’s order is a rare loss, for now, for conservative groups pushing so-called religious liberty arguments over LGBTQ+ rights at the Supreme Court.
This is yet another in a series of cases the present court has heard and with its 6-3 conservative majority, has strongly backed religious rights in those cases.
Among its most recent rulings the high court has decided in favor of including a 6-3 ruling that sided with a former Bremerton, Wash., assistant high school football coach fired for refusing to halt his practice of praying at mid-field after games on school property.
The court in 2021 ruled in favor of a Catholic Church-affiliated agency that Philadelphia had barred from participating in its foster care services because the group refused to place children with same-sex couples. Two years previously in 2018, the court ruled in favor of a conservative Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
This fall term justices are set to hear arguments in cases from a web designer, also from Colorado, who wants the court to rule that, based on her evangelical Christian beliefs, she does not have to design wedding websites for same-sex couples.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National Gay Media Association.