Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Supreme Court to take up policy of religious groups
The Christian Legal Society at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco several years ago began requiring its members to sign a statement of faith. The society says a person who "advocates or unrepentantly engages in sexual conduct outside of a marriage between a man and a woman" cannot become a member of the group and participate in setting its policies.
The university then refused it official status, meaning it was ineligible for such perks as meeting space or a cut of the school's student activities fee. The university said the society was the first group to refuse to abide with its policy that organizations "not discriminate unlawfully on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sex or sexual orientation."
Now the US Supreme Court has decided that it will hear this case. At issue is whether or not campus funds can be used to support an organization that will not allow one class of students as members. It's also important to note that Hasting's College is part of the public college system in California, and as such receives state money. Some religious groups are claiming that barring gay people from his group is a question of religious freedom. Gay rights groups are claiming that The Christian Legal Society does not have the right to bar admission. The ruling might be an indication of the gay friendliness (or lack thereof) of the Supreme Court.