A Christian student group is suing the University of Iowa after it was banned for discriminating against a gay student.
The 10-member Business Leads In Christ was founded in 2015 and met weekly to mentor students on “how to continually keep Christ first in the fast-paced business world.”
Insert “because god” comment here, readers.
Although the group claims that membership is open to everyone, it requires leaders to affirm a statement of faith that rejects homosexuality.
Gay group member Marcus Miller filed a complaint last February after the group denied his request to serve as its vice president.
The group says it denied Miller’s request because he rejected its religious beliefs and would not follow them. Group leaders must affirm a statement of faith that affirms that they “embrace, not reject, their God-given sex” and support the idea that marriage can be only between a man and a woman.
“Every other sexual relationship beyond this is outside of God’s design and is not in keeping with God’s original plan for humanity,” the statement of faith says.
The group’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Davenport, says it “cannot and will not ask leaders who do not share its beliefs to lead members in prayer or to convey those beliefs.”
“Every organization to exist has to be able to select leaders who embrace its mission,” the group’s attorney, Eric Baxter with the nonprofit law firm Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said. “You would never ask an environmental group to have a climate denier as their leader. It’s the same thing here.”
Judge Stephanie M. Rose has set a hearing on a request to reinstate Business Leads In Christ’s on-campus privileges.
Loss of registration means it can no longer reserve meeting space, participate in student recruitment fairs, access funds from student activity fees or use university communication services.
University spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said that student groups must guarantee “that equal opportunity and equal access to membership, programming, facilities, and benefits shall be open to all persons.”
However, the college acknowledged that the court “must carefully weigh the compelling interest of religious freedom on the one hand and the compelling interest of preventing discrimination on the other hand.”
Miller has founded his own university-recognized Christian group Love Works to advocate for justice on LGBT issues.