A federal judge ruled that the University of Iowa cannot take away a Christian student group’s registered status after it prohibited a gay student from a leadership role according to The Hill.
U.S. District Judge Stephanie M. Rose granted a permanent injunction forcing the university to recognize Business Leaders in Christ as a registered student organization.
“Particularly when free speech is involved, the uneven application of any policy risks the most exacting standard of judicial scrutiny, which the defendants have failed to withstand,” NBC News said.
The university claimed that the group violated its human rights policy by blocking a gay student from holding a leadership position.
In her ruling, Rose said the university “didn’t enforce its policy equally by allowing other groups to limit membership based on protected characteristics, including race, gender and religion.”
Business Leaders in Christ member Jake Estell said the group is happy with the outcome he told NBC.
“This victory reinforces the commonsense idea that universities can’t target religious groups for being religious,” he said.
The University of Iowa said that officials are reviewing the ruling and will follow the court order in a statement.
“The university has maintained the registered status of all religious and faith-based groups allowing them full access to all benefits, funding, facilities, and resources that are offered to all other student organizations on campus,” the university said in a previous statement. “The University of Iowa does not tolerate discrimination of any kind in accordance with federal and state law.”
“Leaders of the (BLC) student group must sign a ‘statement of faith’ that says that sexual relationships should only be between a married husband and wife, according to court documents,” added the university.