Right to Association v. Non-Discrimination
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could have repercussions for student organizations on most college and university campuses. The case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, pits a student group against the University of California Hastings College of Law over the college’s non-discrimination policy.
Christian Legal Society (CLS) is a national organization with chapters at multiple law schools. The organization requires that members sign a statement of faith and avoid engaging in sex outside of a heterosexual marriage.
That statement of faith often comes in conflict with university policies requiring that student organizations not discriminate in their membership in order to be recognized by the school or receive funding through student activity fees.
Attorneys for Hastings argue that the group is seeking special treatment and that if an organization receives school funds it should be required to allow all students to fully participate. Attorneys for CLS argue that student organizations have a right to associate with like-minded students and that funding and school recognition cannot be contingent on giving up First Amendment rights.
The Court is expected to issue a decision by the end of the summer.
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