By: Ariel Kahan and Jonathan Levin  | 

U.S. Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor Grants Yeshiva University’s Request for Stay on Order to Recognize LGBTQ Club

Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 9 that Yeshiva University need not recognize the YU Pride Alliance until the New York State Appellate Division hears its appeal, granting the university’s emergency request for a stay on an earlier court’s ruling.

After YU’s initial request for a stay was rejected by the New York Appellate Division in August, YU escalated its request to the U.S. Supreme Court, citing its First Amendment rights to religious freedom.

Sotomayor's order said, “Upon consideration of the application of counsel for the applicants and the response and reply field thereto, it is ordered that the injunction of the New York trial court, case No. 154010/2021, is hereby stayed pending further order of the undersigned [Justice Sotomayor] or of the Court.”

“We are pleased with Justice Sotomayor’s ruling which protects our religious liberty and identity as a leading faith-based academic institution,” said Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University in a press release. “But make no mistake, we will continue to strive to create an environment that welcomes all students, including those of our LGBTQ community. We remain committed to engaging in meaningful dialogue with our students, rabbis and faculty about how best to ensure an inclusive campus for all students in accordance with our Torah values.”

In June, Judge Lynn Kotler of the New York County Supreme Court ordered YU to recognize the YU Pride Alliance, prompting an appeal and a request for a stay from the New York State Appellate Division.

The request for the stay was rejected on Aug. 23, prompting the school to escalate to the U.S. Supreme Court while its appeal was ongoing in New York State’s Court of Appeals.

The university asked the Court to intervene and maintain its First Amendment rights to religious freedom.

“Yeshiva is now asking the Court to protect its religious mission from government interference,” stated a press release from Becket, a non-profit law firm representing YU.

The case began in April 2021, when the YU Pride Alliance, three alumni and an anonymous student sued YU, President Ari Berman and then Vice Provost for Student Affairs Chaim Nissel after two years of failing to get their club approved by the university, alleging discrimination.

Kotler dismissed Nissel from the case in June, stating that he wasn’t involved in decision-making.

This story was updated on September 12. to include YU's quote from their press release as well as change the word "Justice" to "Judge" in the title.

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Photo Caption: The U.S. Supreme Court granted Yeshiva University’s request for a stay

Photo Credit: Bill Mason - Unsplash