A Christian organization at the University of Iowa that was disbanded for not granting a gay member a leadership position has been reinstated after a judge ruled against the school’s “selective enforcement” of its nondiscrimination policy.
What was the issue?
Business Leaders in Christ refused to give a leadership position to an openly gay student who refused to sign the group’s Statement of Faith.
The statement reads: “Members should conduct their careers without the greed, racism, sexual immorality and selfishness that too often arise in business, political and cultural institutions.”
The university shut the organization down, saying that membership and participation in campus organizations cannot be limited based on sexual orientation, among other things.
In order to be reinstated, the school said, the group would have to alter the Statement of Faith.
Group members, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, sued the school.
What did the judge say?
Judge Stephanie Marie Rose of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa ruled last week that the school must reinstate the organization for at least 90 days.
“BLinC’s motion is granted based solely upon the university’s selective enforcement of an otherwise reasonable and viewpoint neutral nondiscrimination policy,” the court order read.
So, it’s not that the university’s policy is wrong, but it appears the school is applying it to the Christian organization while not applying it to organizations such as fraternities, which only accept men, and The Feminist Union, which requires agreement on contraception and abortion issues for membership.
“The school is discriminating against BLinC by barring it from having the same ability to select leaders who share and live by its mission,” a summary of Becket's case read.
How did the university respond?
According to a statement in The Gazette:
The court has ordered the university to restore BLinC to registered student organization status for 90 days. The university respects the decision of the court and has acted accordingly by extending an invitation to BLinC to participate in the student organization fair on Jan. 24. The university will not comment on the merits of the case per its policy on pending litigation.