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Yeshiva University In Conflict With LGBTQ Student Group

Yeshiva University (YU) is a private Orthodox Jewish university in New York City. The school's administration contends that homosexuality is "antithetical to Torah values and teachings." Last year, Pride Alliance, a group of LGBTQ students, sued the university after it refused to recognize the group. A New York judge ordered YU to recognize Pride Alliance because YU's founding documents show it is an “educational corporation,” not a religious one. The judge said YU's religious character, as reflected in required religious studies, observation of Orthodox Jewish law, and student participation in religious services, are secondary to its educational purpose. The judge found YU violated the New York City Human Rights Law by discriminating against the group based on sexual orientation and gender in public accommodations.

While YU appeals the case on substantive grounds, it also sought a stay of the judge's order that YU recognize the group. YU took its request for a stay to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court denied YU's request for a stay. In response to that decision, YU decided to suspend all student organization activities rather than have to recognize Pride Alliance. YU’s president said, “Every faith-based university…has the right to work with its students, including its L.G.B.T.Q. students, to establish the clubs, places, and spaces that fit within its faith tradition." YU Pride Alliance has voluntarily agreed to a non-legally binding "stay" of the order requiring YU to recognize it. The group said it did not want its fellow students punished as the case moves through the courts. Cardozo School of Law is a separate institution under the auspices of Yeshiva University and has issued a statement opposing YU's refusal to recognize Pride Alliance. The law school, which is not faith-based, supports LGBTQ-based organizations and is launching a six-week course devoted to LGBTQ civil rights. In addition, 50+ members of the law school’s faculty signed a letter opposing the ban.