Supreme Court Takes on Case Involving Discrimination by Christian Student Group Against ‘Sexually Immoral’ Gays

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken on a case involving a Christian group at the University of California's Hastings College of Law and the group's refusal to abide by the school's non-discrimination policies because of its national guidelines. The guidelines read, in part, "In view of the clear dictates of Scripture, unrepentant participation
in and advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle is inconsistent with an
affirmation of the Statement of Faith" demanded by the Christian Legal Society.

The Baltimore Sun reports: Cls "The case, to be heard next year, could set new rules for campus groups across the nation.

The University of California's Hastings College of Law says its officially recognized student groups must be open to all of its students. The law school also has a general non-discrimination policy which applies to student groups and programs. It forbids discrimination based on 'race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sex or sexual orientation.'

Five years ago, the Hastings chapter of the Christian Legal Society was told it could not continue as a recognized student group at the law school if its officers refused to pledge to abide by the non-discrimination rule."

The group refused to admit gays and lesbians because of its policies: "Because the Hastings chapter would not abide by the university's
policy, it lost its recognition as an official student group. This is
turn meant the campus would not pay travel costs for the group's
leaders to attend national meetings. The group also lost its right to
use reserved rooms for meetings and, it was excluded from some
newsletters or mailings that were sent to students at the law school."

The Supreme Court will "hear the appeal and…rule on whether the Constitution protects the Christian student's group right to exclude some students."


  1. ColinATL says

    Just because you have the Freedom to Associate with whom you please does not mean you must be granted all the rights and privileges of those organizations that DO abide the school’s non-discrimination policy. This one’s a no-brainer. And as usual, it will come down to how Justice Kennedy feels. He’s turned pretty pro-gay, but I think he’s a sucker for the “Christians are victims!” arguments as well…

  2. says

    i have a bad feeling about this. the law seems pretty damn clear already. with the limited number of cases the SCOTUS takes on, they must feel it’s time to knock us down a peg or three again and bump up the freakazoid kkkristians.

  3. Stephen says

    If the Supreme Court rules against us, could students start a discriminatory Christian-only KKK organization too?

  4. Z says

    In answer to Stephen’s question: yes, they could start a KKK chapter. And they would have the right to apply for university funding.

  5. JSH says

    I would love to see them explicitly extend the protection of Title VI to LGBT people with this ruling. Simply put the University of California is a public school, receiving public funds & as a result it (and by proxy its official student groups) cannot discriminate against any persons.

    I’m doubtful that will be the case, but it sure would be awesome. Not to mention a great step forward ahead of the DOMA fight.

  6. Dusty says

    This story should anger Christians as their religion is being used as a tool for bigotry and discrimination. There are millions of gay Christians and it amazes me that Christian organizations like this one define people by their sexual orientation before defining them as Christians. One would think that being Christian would be more important than being anti-gay, but apparently not.

  7. says

    I read the full story on this earlier and it does look like there is legal precedent. They are using previous SCOTUS rulings with the Boyscouts and another case in Chicago that is very similar to this case as the basis for their argument, uh discrimination. Just looking at the outcome of those two cases, I’d say this is already lost.

    Ultimately, I would think that people wouldn’t want to belong to an organization or group that hates them. In fact, they can apply for their own “Christian Legal” group for LGBT students only and then accept anybody who wants to join just to show they are truly acting like that which the other organization purports to be, Christian.

  8. Jon says

    Hastings, as a public law school, is almost certainly going to lose this case. A private law school, on the other hand, would almost certainly win.

  9. Zeke says

    “The Supreme Court will “hear the appeal and…rule on whether the Constitution protects the Christian student’s group right to exclude some students.””

    What? Is that REALLY what you think the court is going to rule on? That’s not what they are to rule on AT ALL! There is NO question that the club has the right to refuse gay members based on their religious beliefs and club rules. The court doesn’t have to rule on that; that’s already settled law. What the court is REALLY going to rule on is whether or not the school is REQUIRED to officially recognize and subsidize a club whose policies and membership requirements violate the school’s policies.

    It really does a major injustice when sentences like the one above completely misrepresent the issue at hand and mislead people into believing that this is an issue of whether or not a group has a right to have a religious belief and act on it. That is NOT the issue at all.

  10. says

    Hey Zeke, thanks for the clarification. However, reading the full story (not presented here) does lend itself to the belief that law has in fact already been established (particularly in the case involving another Christian Legal group at another university in Chicago). Therefore, I’m suggesting that the school in question will most likely have to continue funding this group. The only question I would ask is whether the case in Chicago involved a private or public school. That may very well make the difference.

  11. Z says

    The Chicago case that Keith is referring to was a case decided by another US court of appeals. The Supreme Court has never ruled on this and does not have to follow the Chicago case. It took the case to resolve the disagreement between the Chicago and the San Francisco court.

  12. Lonnie says

    I don’t understand why any self-respecting lgbt person would WANT to be in the same group as bigots. Oh, yeah, that explains the Democratic Party.

  13. JR says

    If the SC rules that the group can exist, and must be provided funds, even though it is in clear violation of the schools’ equitably instituted non-discrimination policy, then what happens to that policy? Would this essentially invalidated the rights of public schools to have non-discrimination policies?

  14. says

    Ok. If they are in a state school, it makes sense that they shouldn’t allow this kind of group to assemble on their grounds. if it was a private school, i’d think it’d be a different matter.

    but, in the end, why would gays want to assemble with people like this? and why force them to feel they should have to accept us in their group? if that’s how they’re going to interpret scripture, it shows a distinct train of thought that only leads to moral supremacy.

    it’s time we stop trying to fix people and the way they think and just get that bill for the abortion on the 90th trimester passed.

  15. Bayley says

    Their wording of their own statment is offensive itself! It’s time we as gays realize and demand that we will not tolerate people discriminating, hating and harassing us by hiding behind the Bible. The bible will not and should not excuse you of discriminatory practices, and we should NEVER tolerate hearing someone tell us “I think you are this that and the other because the bible tells me so”….no, not any more!

  16. Bayley says

    It’s not about gays wanting to be in this group or not…that’s not the issue here, the issue is that should the group get tax payer dollars and dollars donated to the school for their causes/trips/gain when they go against the mission statment of the school. THAT is the issue and THAT should not be allowed. They better lose. It’s clear as day for me.

  17. stephen says

    Frankly, I’m worried. It seems pretty clear so why are they hearing it? Do we ever get to know why they choose the cases they do?

  18. jamal49 says

    Any bets that the current Supreme Court will decide by a 5-4 majority to side with the christians? I can’t wait for Scalia’s opinion. It should be a judicial bigot’s wet-dream.

  19. jamal49 says

    Jonbenet, why don’t you cut the crap and go post your christian bullshit somewhere else, like or something? You are so pathetically stupid that you give yourself away from the get-go. Go play with Richard Cohen. Maybe while he’s cuddling your dumb, evangie-fundie ass, he can take that tennis racket and beat the shit out of you.