Thursday, February 07, 2019

Christian Student Group Wins Injunction

In Business Leaders in Christ v. University of Iowa, (SD IA, Feb. 6, 2019), an Iowa federal district court granted a permanent injunction and awarded nominal damages to a Christian student group that was denied Registered Student Organization status. The denial was based on the University's Human Rights Policy that prohibits discrimination, among other things, on the basis of sexual orientation.  The student organization denied an executive committee spot to a gay student. In finding free speech and free exercise violations, the court said in part:
The Court suspects that some observers will portray this case as a fundamental conflict between nondiscrimination laws and religious liberty. Appealing as that may be, it overinflates the issues before the Court. The Human Rights Policy promotes valuable goals for both the University and society at large. There is no fault to be found with the policy itself. But the Constitution does not tolerate the way Defendants chose to enforce the Human Rights Policy.  Particularly when free speech is involved, the uneven application of any policy risks the most exacting standard of judicial scrutiny, which Defendants have failed to withstand.
Becket issued a press release announcing the decision.