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National Catholic Register: Supreme Court Backs Homosexuals Against Christians

16 July 2010

Fascinating.  More wrangling over the rights of Christian campus groups in limiting their members to .. Christians. 

But Hastings decided to defend its policy. So the Christian Legal Society, supported by the Alliance Defense Fund, another national religious-rights advocacy organization, sued the college in 2005, arguing that its policy was itself a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment.

The Christian Legal Society reasoning was that the policy required religious organizations to allow anyone to belong regardless of religious or moral belief, but it did not require political groups such as the campus Republicans to allow Democrats to join or environmental groups to let in debunkers of global warming. This, it argued, was “viewpoint discrimination.”

Still, Hastings did not give in, arguing that its rights allowed it to force upon student clubs a conduct code to make its campus a safe and respectful place for all minorities.
All-Comers Policy Prevails
However, one year into the case, Hastings did change its defense, suddenly claiming it had had an unwritten policy for 20 years requiring all campus clubs to admit all comers as members.

This sleight of hand did the trick in both California’s 9th Circuit Court and the Supreme Court. Declared the latter: “Compliance with Hastings’ all-comers policy, we conclude, is a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral condition on access to the student-organization forum.”

But Colby demurred. “We argue that the all-comers policy was pretextual,” she said. “It’s certainly dirty pool to say you’ve had a policy for 20 years when you haven’t.”

The dissenting minority also judged the all-comers policy as a device to attack the Christian club. “The court ignores strong evidence that the accept-all-comers policy is not viewpoint-neutral because it was announced as a pretext to justify viewpoint discrimination,” said Alito. “Brushing aside inconvenient precedent, the court arms public educational institutions with a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups — groups to which, as Hastings candidly puts it, these institutions ‘do not wish to … lend their name[s].’ … I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that today’s decision is a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country.”

“It seems self-evidently nonsensical,” agreed Greg Baylor, chief counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund. The ruling could do real damage, he told the Register, if other colleges anxious to crack down on free religious expression establish their own all-comers policies. 

In other words, a minority group must define itself to mean everyone.  So, LGBT campus groups must now allow Fred Phelp’s wannabes into their clubs.  Right?

Hmm…  Something ain’t right here.  Oh well, I’m sure they’ll sort it out eventually. 

Please do read it all.

‘Might want to check out Howard Friedman’s blog too. 

– Elder

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