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The Supreme Court ruled on Friday to temporarily block a New York judge’s order to force Yeshiva University to recognize a club for LGBTQ students until the college’s religious freedom case is completed.
Justice Sonia Sotomayer signed the order that included no dissents in the Friday ruling. Sotomayer signed the ruling as she is the circuit justice for the Second District that includes New York.
“Yeshiva shouldn’t have been forced to go all the way to the Supreme Court to receive such a commonsense ruling in favor of its First Amendment rights,” Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, said in a statement sent to The Daily Wire following the ruling.
“We are grateful that Justice Sotomayor stepped in to protect Yeshiva’s religious liberty in this case,” he added.
#BREAKING: Justice Sotomayor has just stayed a New York court ruling, protecting Yeshiva University from having to imminently violate the Torah values that form its religious identity. https://t.co/TTN9t1xNOt
— BECKET (@BECKETlaw) September 9, 2022
Yeshiva University has been fighting to defend its religious identity in New York courts for more than a year. In YU Pride Alliance v. Yeshiva University, New York lower courts agreed with the plaintiffs to force Yeshiva to recognize an LGBTQ club on campus, even though this would violate Torah values that Yeshiva follows.
The emergency order from Sotomayor will allow the school to deny recognition to the group for now, though it may not be the court’s final decision on the matter.
“As a deeply religious Jewish university, Yeshiva cannot comply with that [state court] order because doing so would violate its sincere religious beliefs about how to form its undergraduate students in Torah values,” the university told the Supreme Court in its emergency appeal.
Yeshiva University opened in 1886 and is considered among the oldest Orthodox Jewish colleges in America. The emergency appeal was filed on August 29 to challenge the “unprecedented intrusion” of Yeshiva University’s religious beliefs.
In the previous injunction by New York Supreme Court Justice Lynn Kotler, the ruling went against Yeshiva University.
“Even if the court were to adopt Yeshiva’s religious function test, the court would reach the same result,” Kotler’s ruling stated.
“Plaintiffs’ counsel correctly characterizes defendants’ argument on this point: defendants want this court to find that Yeshiva is a religious corporation in the same manner an ordinary person would describe themselves as a religious person. There is no doubt that Yeshiva has an inherent and integral religious character which defines it and sets it apart from other schools and universities of higher education. However, Yeshiva must fit within the term ‘religious corporation’ as the legislature intended the term to mean in the [New York City Human Rights Law],” the ruling added.
The Yeshiva Pride Alliance’s attorneys argued the school should acknowledge the group.
“While Yeshiva University can espouse its Torah values without interference, it may not deny certain students access to the non-religious resources it offers the entire student community on the basis of sexual orientation,” the group wrote last month.