Updated Monday 9/19 at 9:35 E.T.
The Supreme Court has declined to block a lower court order that requires a religious school in New York City to officially recognize an LGBTQ+ student club.
In the decision announced Wednesday, the justices declined 5-4 to block a lower court order that ruled Yeshiva University, a Modern Orthodox Jewish school, must recognize the Y.U. Pride Alliance, a student LGBTQ+ organization. The Court declined the university’s request to block the order, citing in its decision that the university could still pursue its challenge through the state court system.
The Y.U. Pride Alliance first challenged the university back in 2021, after Yeshiva refused to officially recognize the LGBTQ+ organization which, officials argued, was in conflict with the institution’s religious teachings. The student organization sued, arguing that the ban was in violation with New York City’s anti-discrimination policy.
In June, a New York trial court ruled in favor of the student organization, citing that Yeshiva University was registered as an educational rather than religious institution, and as such was required to follow New York City law, the New York Times reports.
The university appealed to the Supreme Court to block the lower court’s order. Justices Brown, Kagan, Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Sotomayor formed the majority opinion, with justices Alito, Barrett, Gorsuch, and Thomas dissenting.
The decision is “a victory for Yeshiva University students who are simply seeking basic rights that are uncontested at peer universities,” said Katie Rosenfeld, a lawyer for Y.U. Pride Alliance, in a statement reported by Reuters.
“At the end of the day, Yeshiva University students will have a club for peer support this year, and the sky is not going to fall down,” she said.
On Friday, two days after the Supreme Court’s decision, Yeshiva University announced that it was suspending all student club activities while it “takes steps to follow the roadmap provided by the U.S. Supreme Court to protect … religious freedoms,” CNN reports.
In a separate statement to CNN, Rosenfeld called the move a “shameful tactic.”
She continued, calling the decision “a throwback to 50 years ago when the city of Jackson, Mississippi closed all public swimming pools rather than comply with court orders to desegregate.”