The Supreme Court ruled today that California’s publicly financed Hastings College of Law has the right to deny recognizing a Christian students group that discriminated against homosexual students.
In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the University of California was within its rights not to recognize the Christian Legal Society because it violated the school’s non-discrimination policy. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “starting in 2004, the organization has held members to a ‘statement of faith’ prohibiting ‘fornication, adultery and homosexual conduct.'”
Without being officially recognized by the UC, the Society was still welcome to meet at Hastings and to use its facilities. But, as one Hastings official said, “If you want state funding, public funding, and you want to use the Hastings name, then you have to abide by the Hastings policy.”
Still, the group argued that its First Amendment rights were violated, as it was a Christian group and should not have to welcome non-believers, homosexuals, or other miscreants. They saw nothing wrong in having a publicly funded group that required members to sign a “statement of faith.”
The Society argued that the student group’s beliefs should be allowed to dictate who will and won’t be admitted to their organizations. But retiring Justice John Paul Stevens wasn’t buying it when he asked during oral arguments, “What if the belief is that African-Americans are inferior?”
And though Rand Paul might not necessarily agree, the Court has now ruled that requiring a publicly financed group to adhere to a non-discrimination policy is perfectly constitutional.
The case marked one of the last times Justice Stevens helped clinch a 5-4 decision, and he assigned Justice Ginsburg to write the opinion for the majority.