The Supreme Court has rejected Yeshiva University’s emergency request for a stay that would stop a ruling by a New York State judge, ordering the Jewish institution to recognize a “Pride Alliance” LGBTQ student group.
The 5-4 vote supports a lower court order ruling by Judge Lynn Kotler on June 14 requiring Yeshiva University, the most prominent Modern Orthodox institution of higher learning in America, to carry out an action that comes in direct contradiction to its most basic religious tenets.
Kotler had ruled the university is bound by the New York City Human Rights Law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, noting that Yeshiva is not incorporated as a religious institution. She concluded that Yeshiva did not meet relevant criteria to be covered under an exemption for religious organizations that is included in the law.
Two New York state appeal courts had issued similar rulings.
Pride Alliance members have said they are planning events backing LGBTQ rights in the near future, including some timed around Jewish holidays.
The decision counters a previous ruling by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who issued a stay on September 9 pending a Supreme Court ruling on the issue.
After having issued that stay, however, Sotomayor chose to rule against Yeshiva on Wednesday (Sept. 4) with four other Supreme Court justices.
They added in their decision that the university can turn to the Supreme Court again if it is not able to block the ruling in New York State courts.
The Court is still on summer recess and not scheduled to return for the new term until October.
The dissenting judges said Yeshiva should have been granted immediate relief from having to recognize an LGBTQ student group against its religious beliefs.
“I doubt that Yeshiva’s return to state court will be fruitful, and I see no reason why we should not grant a stay at this time. It is our duty to stand up for the Constitution even when doing so is controversial,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote.