Yeshiva University has suspended all student club activities after the Supreme Court ruled against its request to overturn the recognition of an LGBTQ student organization.
The announcement was shared in an email to students on Friday that indicated the school would “hold off on all undergraduate club activities while it immediately takes steps to follow the roadmap provided by the U.S. Supreme Court to protect YU’s religious freedom.”
The change followed a 5-4 ruling on Wednesday that lifted a hold on a court order that required Yeshiva University to recognize the YU Pride Alliance group.
“The stakes couldn’t be higher, not just for Yeshiva but for the country,” Mark Rienzi, president of the Becket Fund that is representing Yeshiva in the case, warned. “That’s why people of many different faiths filed briefs asking the court to protect Yeshiva. If Yeshiva can’t even make religious decisions on its own campus, then no religious group is safe from government control.”
Following Wednesday’s ruling, Becket Vice President Eric Baxter released a statement regarding the next steps in the case.
“Today the Supreme Court instructed Yeshiva University to make an additional effort to get the New York courts to grant them emergency relief and made clear that if that protection is not provided, they can return to the Supreme Court to seek its protection again,” Baxter said in a statement. “We will follow the Court’s instruction.”
Today's #SCOTUS order in YU Pride Alliance v. Yeshiva University can be found here: https://t.co/Pss6v41rqI
Statement from @esbax pic.twitter.com/ujkJ0zXdix
— BECKET (@BECKETlaw) September 14, 2022
The Supreme Court ruled on September 9 to temporarily block a New York judge’s order to force the school to recognize the YU Pride Alliance until the college’s religious freedom case is completed.
Justice Sonia Sotomayer signed the order that included no dissents in the 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,” Baxter 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.
Just days later, the Supreme Court’s decision is now requiring Yeshiva University to pursue the matter in the state’s courts first, with the hold lifted effective immediately. The latest effort by the Jewish Orthodox school will keep any student organization from operating, including the pride group, until a legal decision can be made in the case.
Katie Rosenfeld, a lawyer for the pride group, told the Washington Post that the school’s decision is discriminatory, calling it “a throwback to 50 years ago when the city of Jackson, Miss., closed all public swimming pools rather than comply with court orders to desegregate.”
“The Pride Alliance seeks a safe space on campus, nothing more,” she said in an email Saturday. “By shutting down all club activities, the YU administration attempts to divide the student body, and pit students against their LGBT peers. We are confident that YU students will see through this shameful tactic and stand together in community.”