U.S. Supreme Court Rules Gay, Diversity Rights Override Religious Freedom

****U.S. Supreme Court Rules Gay, Diversity Rights Override Religious Freedom

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a Christian student group does not have the right to restrict its membership to practicing Christians, in a decision Christian rights groups are calling a significant blow to religious freedom.

The court decided 5-4 Monday in the case Christian Legal Society v. Martinez to uphold a California law school’s denial of official recognition of a Christian student group. The Christian group refused to agree to let non-Christians and those engaging in a “sexually immoral lifestyle” to become voting members or leaders.

The case has received national interest as the guidelines, which bar openly-practicing homosexuals from the group, came to be perceived as discrimination against homosexuals.

The majority decision, authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ruled that the UC Hastings College of Law’s decision was a fair application of its anti-discrimination policy. In what may set a grim precedent, the liberals on the court upheld the “rights” of non-discrimination according to sexual orientation over rights of religious freedom by comparing Christian beliefs to racist beliefs: Justice John Paul Stevens asked, “What if the belief is that African-Americans are inferior?”

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which filed an amicus brief in the case representing numerous Christian campus organizations, called the outcome an “extremely disappointing decision” that “significantly damages the constitutional rights of religious organizations.”

“The majority of the Supreme Court missed the mark in understanding that it is fundamental to religious freedom that religious groups are free to define their own mission, select their own leaders and determine their own membership criteria,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.

“By permitting a discriminatory decision by the federal appeals court to stand, the Supreme Court decision represents, as Justice Alito correctly concluded in the dissent, ‘a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country.’ And, we, like Justice Alito, hope this decision will be an aberration and not a shift in First Amendment jurisprudence.”

The case involved a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit siding with the Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Hastings denied official recognition to a student group – the Christian Legal Society (CLS) – after CLS said it could not abide by the school’s non-discrimination policy. That policy forbids student groups from discriminating on the basis of, among other things, “religion.” CLS says its religious beliefs prevent non-Christians from exercising control over the group by becoming voting members or serving in leadership positions.

In a dissent written by Justice Samuel Alito, and joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Thomas, Justice Alito concluded that the majority decision "is a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country."
lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jun/10062806.html

[quote="Soutane, post:1, topic:203671"]

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a Christian student group does not have the right to restrict its membership to practicing Christians, in a decision Christian rights groups are calling a significant blow to religious freedom.

[/quote]

erm.... not quite.

The ruling is that if the organization wants to receive public subsidies from the school, the organization has to accept "all comers." As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote: "Hastings ... is dangling the carrot of subsidy, not wielding the stick of prohibition."

The group is still allowed to meet in school facilities, just not be recognized as on official Hasting College of Law student organization.

[quote="Dale_M, post:2, topic:203671"]
erm.... not quite.

The ruling is that if the organization wants to receive public subsidies from the school, the organization has to accept "all comers." As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote: "Hastings ... is dangling the carrot of subsidy, not wielding the stick of prohibition."

The group is still allowed to meet in school facilities, just not be recognized as on official Hasting College of Law student organization.

[/quote]

My my....NOW THAT puts a different slant on the whole OP's post...doesn't it?:)

"The group is still allowed to meet in school facilities, just not be recognized as on official Hasting College of Law student organization"

Sweet!how accommodating of them!They get a room but no recognition,ergo they don't exist.Problem solved!!!

Next stop BANNING-just ask the Canadian University students who have had to fight court case after court case to win recognition for Pro-Life clubs.Has no one around here heard of the thin edge of the wedge,or the totalitarian bent of most liberal interpretation of law.

This is going back to court though.

[quote="Dale_M, post:2, topic:203671"]
erm.... not quite.

The ruling is that if the organization wants to receive public subsidies from the school, the organization has to accept "all comers." As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote: "Hastings ... is dangling the carrot of subsidy, not wielding the stick of prohibition."

The group is still allowed to meet in school facilities, just not be recognized as on official Hasting College of Law student organization.

[/quote]

I haven't read up on this, but does that mean that if someone started a Black Students' Organization or Asian Students' Organization, etc, that those type of groups wouldn't be eligible for public subsidies or recognized as an official student organization either?

[quote="exoflare, post:6, topic:203671"]
I haven't read up on this, but does that mean that if someone started a Black Students' Organization or Asian Students' Organization, etc, that those type of groups wouldn't be eligible for public subsidies or recognized as an official student organization either?

[/quote]

My understanding is that they would, as long as they didn't exclude people on the basis of race or ethnicity. When I was in college that was the policy and practice. We didn't have any problems.

So the black student organization would be required to accept whites, and the atheist student organization would be required to accept Catholics, and the 'living constitution legal society' would be required to accept strict constructionists?

[quote="JimG, post:8, topic:203671"]
So the black student organization would be required to accept whites, and the atheist student organization would be required to accept Catholics, and the 'living constitution legal society' would be required to accept strict constructionists?

[/quote]

In general, yes - every recognized (and therefore, funded) student organization has to accept any student as a full-fledged member or risk losing their status. Now, the argument stated that the school banned them as part of their anti-discriminatory policies, so I don't know if intellectual discrimination (i.e. the legal society example) would qualify.

And although some people may not think it is a 'big deal' that they aren't receiving subsidies, it is ultimately saying that the school refuses to recognize religious groups (or for that matter, any group) which has any sort of restrictive membership policies on the basis of any discriminatory policy.

But if that is the case, what stops a woman from pledging a fraternity? Or for that matter, a man from pledging a sorority? Why can't a group of Christian students get together, join a Jewish Student Association on campus, and have enough Christian voters to elect themselves officers? To prevent this, there MUST be a need to allow some restrictions based on beliefs. If not, and those not in line with the beliefs found a way into power, they could ultimately destroy the organization's mission entirely, and that eliminates the purpose of any student organizations.

[quote="Mumbles140, post:9, topic:203671"]
In general, yes - every recognized (and therefore, funded) student organization has to accept any student as a full-fledged member or risk losing their status. Now, the argument stated that the school banned them as part of their anti-discriminatory policies, so I don't know if intellectual discrimination (i.e. the legal society example) would qualify.

And although some people may not think it is a 'big deal' that they aren't receiving subsidies, it is ultimately saying that the school refuses to recognize religious groups (or for that matter, any group) which has any sort of restrictive membership policies on the basis of any discriminatory policy.

But if that is the case, what stops a woman from pledging a fraternity? Or for that matter, a man from pledging a sorority? Why can't a group of Christian students get together, join a Jewish Student Association on campus, and have enough Christian voters to elect themselves officers? To prevent this, there MUST be a need to allow some restrictions based on beliefs. If not, and those not in line with the beliefs found a way into power, they could ultimately destroy the organization's mission entirely, and that eliminates the purpose of any student organizations.

[/quote]

Why can't female impersonators compete for the Miss America contest?BECAUSE IT WOULD BE STUPID AS IS THIS RULING.

[quote="Dale_M, post:7, topic:203671"]
My understanding is that they would, as long as they didn't exclude people on the basis of race or ethnicity. When I was in college that was the policy and practice. We didn't have any problems.

[/quote]

Do you think that they might have a problem with Nazi skinheads and White supremacists joining.If they do,that's discriminatory.Political Correctness is a Death Pact,it really is.(That's twice Ridge runner:))

This kind of reminds me of the guys who sued Hooters because Hooters wouldn't hire them as waiters.

[quote="Genesis315, post:12, topic:203671"]
This kind of reminds me of the guys who sued Hooters because Hooters wouldn't hire them as waiters.

[/quote]

Meme chose

It does provide a bit of a slipperly slope, let's say, if certain 503(c) organizations would refuse to perform same sex marriage ceremonies (provided it becomes the law of the land)??

[quote="scipio337, post:14, topic:203671"]
It does provide a bit of a slipperly slope, let's say, if certain 503(c) organizations would refuse to perform same sex marriage ceremonies (provided it becomes the law of the land)??

[/quote]

Its an interesting point, but I am not so sure it is correct. I think you are referring to churches being allowed to practice their faith. And that the tax exemption they receive amounts to a government subsidy.

However, in the case of the student group, they were directly receiving public funds, which is a bit different than not paying taxes. Moreover, although the student group had a religious orientation, they were not a church.

[quote="Dale_M, post:15, topic:203671"]
Its an interesting point, but I am not so sure it is correct. I think you are referring to churches being allowed to practice their faith. And that the tax exemption they receive amounts to a government subsidy.

However, in the case of the student group, they were directly receiving public funds, which is a bit different than not paying taxes. Moreover, although the student group had a religious orientation, they were not a church.

[/quote]

But many Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) who are tax-exempt, whether under Section 503(c) or another, often receive federal funding for the sake of supplying public services such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, job training, education, etc. This issue arose under Bush where Faith-based organizations received federal funding to provide non-religious services.

Now I haven't read Ginsburg's opinion, nor the dissenting opinion, but from the shape of this discussion, even if hypothetical, what stops this judgment from being applied to a situation where the Catholic Church were to lose all federal funding if they did not allow female priests? And at that point, you are destroying the freedom of religion, and that is why this judgment is totally ridiculous and ill-founded in reason.

[quote="Mumbles140, post:16, topic:203671"]
But many Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) who are tax-exempt, whether under Section 503(c) or another, often receive federal funding for the sake of supplying public services such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, job training, education, etc. This issue arose under Bush where Faith-based organizations received federal funding to provide non-religious services.

[/quote]

If these organizations are discriminating in their provision of publicly funded services, then they should lose their public funding.

[quote="Mumbles140, post:16, topic:203671"]
what stops this judgment from being applied to a situation where the Catholic Church were to lose all federal funding if they did not allow female priests?

[/quote]

Because that would be a violation of Church and State. The government can not interfere in religious practices or beliefs. The question of female priests is one of religious doctrine. As I mentioned earlier, the student organization was not a church. Similarly, Catholic Charities is not a church. It does not ordain clergy. In its provision of publicly funded services, those services need to conform to federal regulations on non-discrimination. The regulation of such services have nothing to do with what the Catholic Church believes or practices its faith, such as allowing only men to be priests.

Bob Jones University v United States

law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0461_0574_ZO.html

Granted, it is not a "church", but the SC District Court had overturned IRS' revocation of the 503c status and violated the University's rights under the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.

Just looking at the thread title made me know the news article was not from a non-partisan source. The question was not gay or diversity rights but legal precepts versus a private organization wanting public standing on its own terms.

Sometimes you can't have it both ways.

[quote="Dale_M, post:17, topic:203671"]
If these organizations are discriminating in their provision of publicly funded services, then they should lose their public funding.

Because that would be a violation of Church and State. The government can not interfere in religious practices or beliefs. The question of female priests is one of religious doctrine. As I mentioned earlier, the student organization was not a church. Similarly, Catholic Charities is not a church. It does not ordain clergy. In its provision of publicly funded services, those services need to conform to federal regulations on non-discrimination. The regulation of such services have nothing to do with what the Catholic Church believes or practices its faith, such as allowing only men to be priests.

[/quote]

Well yes, if they are discriminating in their provision of the services, but the comparison related to the discrimination of members who are providing the services.

And it wouldn't be a violation of Church and State if the government said "We will not give federal funding to any organization that does not allow women to hold the same positions as men" The government isn't required to provide money to faith-based organizations, so they can just as easily pull it for whatever reason they choose. That being said, I think it could be reasonably argued that Catholic Charities is a branch (subsidiary, if you will) of the Catholic Church, and therefore the government could refuse to fund them if they disagreed with Church policy because the inter-relatedness of the two entities.

Clearly, I don't agree with the ruling, and I'm not saying the above situation is likely to happen - the purpose of my previous post was to draw attention to the idea that this decision will have far-reaching consequences, perhaps further than the justices (hopefully) didn't realize.

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