Supreme Court Takes Christian-Club Bias Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted a case involving a student group that wants to use public university funds despite its discriminatory membership rules.

The dispute in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez involves a branch of the Christian Legal Society at Hastings College of Law at the University of California, San Francisco. The group sought funding and official status from the school, even though it effectively bars gays and non-Christians from membership by requiring all officers and voting members to sign an evangelical Christian statement of faith.

“This case is about fundamental fairness,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “If the student religious group wins, it will mean some students will be compelled to support clubs that won’t even admit them as members. That’s just not right.”

Hastings College of Law bans discrimination against gays, as well as religious discrimination, and officials refused to support the club. The Christian Legal Society brought the lawsuit to require the law school to provide public funds.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Hastings.

Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the appeals court in support of the school’s anti-discrimination policy.