UPDATE: U.S. Supreme Court reverses course, Jewish university forced to recognize LGBTQ student group

The Court denied Yeshiva University’s appeal for a permanent injunction just days after Justice Sotomayer granted a temporary stay.

The Jewish university must first seek an appeal from the state appellate or district courts before the Supreme Court, according to the majority opinion.

In a 5 to 4 ruling on Sept 14, the U.S. Supreme Court decided against granting a permanent injunction preventing a New York Supreme Court ruling from forcing Yeshiva University to officially recognize the LGBTQ student group, YU Pride Alliance, on campus. 

Justices Roberts, Sotomayer, Kavanaugh, Jackson, and Kagan issued the majority ruling, with Alito, Thomas, Barrett, and Gorsuch dissenting. 

The Supreme Court ruled in the majority opinion that “[t]he application [was] denied because it appears that applicants have at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief.” The Jewish university must first seek an appeal from the state appellate or district courts before the Supreme Court, according to the majority opinion of the Court. 

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Justice Alito did not agree with the majority stating that “the Court of Appeals has already denied Yeshiva’s application for interim relief, but the majority interprets a case comment written by a court clerk employed by the Appellate Division to mean that the Court of Appeals may give Yeshiva a second bite at the apple…[t]hat interpretation is dubious, yet the majority seizes upon it as dispositive.”

Alito raised concern that the Court’s current decision to grant a stay during the future duration of the lawsuit would force the university to “instruct its students in accordance with what it regards as an incorrect interpretation of Torah and Jewish law.”

“The First Amendment guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion, and if that provision means anything, it prohibits a State from enforcing its own preferred interpretation of Holy Scripture,” Alito wrote. 

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As Campus Reform previously reported, the ruling comes just five days after Justice Sotomayer issued a temporary ruling on Sept. 9 granting an injunction that put a hold on a New York Supreme Court ruling requiring YU to recognize the LGBTQ student group YU Pride Alliance.

Sotomayer’s temporary injunction remained in effect until the recent ruling from the Supreme Court was handed down. 

Campus Reform contacted Yeshiva University and was directed to a statement attributed to the President of YU Rabbi Ari Berman, “Every faith-based university in the country has the right to work with its students, including its LGBTQ students, to establish the clubs, places, and spaces that fit within its faith tradition. Yeshiva University simply seeks that same right of self-determination.”

“The Supreme Court has laid out the roadmap for us to find expedited relief and we will follow their instructions.” President Berman continued. “At the same time, as our commitment to and love for our LGBTQ students are unshakeable, we continue to extend our hand in invitation to work together to create a more inclusive campus life consistent with our Torah values.” 

Campus Reform contacted the YU Pride Alliance and will update this article accordingly. 

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