WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a case testing the limits of religious freedom when those rights clash with a college’s policy of non-discrimination against gays and lesbians.
The Christian Science Monitor reported the Christian Legal Society at the Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco was stripped of its registered student organization status at the college because it refused to allow gay and lesbian students to become voting members or officers.
Under the college’s non-discrimination policy, student organizations must allow fellow students to join and potentially seek leadership positions in any organization without regard to their status or beliefs.
Starting in the 2004-2005 academic year, the college’s student organization required prospective members to sign a statement of Christian faith. In addition, the national Christian Legal Society developed a policy position regarding its view of biblical principles of sexual morality. The position, adopted by the Hastings chapter, says that “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle” was inconsistent with the group’s statement of faith and would disqualify an individual from membership, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
“A person who advocates or unrepentantly engages in sexual conduct outside marriage between a man and a woman is not considered to be living consistently with the Statement of Faith and, therefore, is not eligible” for membership in the CLS, according to the group’s legal brief.
The legal battle that ensued has pitted arguments of religious freedom against the college’s non-discrimination policy. The Supreme Court must now resolve the case.The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case regarding a college student group that bans gay members.