Judge Denies Plaintiffs’ Request Requiring YU to Allow LGBTQ Club While Discrimination Case Continues in Court
Judge Lynn Kotler of the New York County Supreme Court denied the Pride Alliance and the other plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction on Wednesday, Aug. 18, allowing Yeshiva University to deny an official LGBTQ club from forming on campus while the discrimination case continues in court.
In April 2021, the Alliance, three former students and a current anonymous student sued YU for discrimination under New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) for its continued refusal to allow an LGBTQ club for students. The same day, plaintiffs asked the court for a temporary, expedited decision — known as a preliminary injunction — to have YU recognize the club for Fall 2021 until the court comes to a complete, final ruling in the case at a later time.
Kotler wrote in her decision on this motion that the plaintiffs failed to meet the “heavy burden” for a preliminary injunction to be granted.
One factor necessary for the preliminary injunction to have been granted is that the plaintiffs must show a likelihood that they will win their case. Kotler noted that, at this time, it is unclear whether YU is bound by NYCHRL, as the plaintiffs argue. YU contends that it is exempted from those laws because it says it is a “religious corporation incorporated under the education law” and not a place of public accommodation. “If that is the case,” Kotler said, “then plaintiffs do not have a claim under NYCHRL against Yeshiva for failure to officially recognize YU Pride Alliance.”
Kotler also said that compelling YU to permit the club through this motion would “not maintain the status quo,” which she indicates is needed for an injunction to be granted. “Plaintiffs allege that Yeshiva’s refusal to formally recognize an LGBTQ organization has been ongoing for a decade,” she explained. “The relief plaintiffs seek would change the status quo.”
Previously, the defense asked the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that YU is not bound by NYCHRL, among other reasons. Kotler instead decided to move for a summary judgment, which is a final decision by the court, based strictly on the law without discussion of material facts, without a full trial. Oral arguments will be held virtually on Oct. 19 via Microsoft Teams.
“We are pleased with the ruling and the Court’s recognition of Yeshiva’s ‘proud and rich Jewish heritage,’” the university said in a statement. “We look forward to the additional briefing in the coming weeks and to the oral argument in October.”
As of publication, Katherine Rosenfeld, who is representing the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to The Commentator’s request for comment.
Photo Caption: Students marched for LGBTQ equality in September 2019.
Photo Credit: The Pride Alliance