A New York appeals court ruled in favor of Yeshiva University LGBTQ students on Thursday, affirming a previous judicial decision that the school was discriminating against students by refusing to officially recognize an LGBTQ campus group known as the YU Pride Alliance.
The decision is the latest development in a battle between the LGBTQ group and the school. In June, a judge ruled that the school must officially recognize the club. Yeshiva University took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered the school to comply with the lower court’s decision in September, at least until it exhausted its appeals on the state level.
Just days later, the university temporarily shut down all of its undergraduate clubs in the college’s latest attempt to avoid recognizing the YU Pride Alliance.
“We welcome today’s ruling from the Appellate Division affirming that Yeshiva University cannot discriminate against its LGBTQ+ students by continuing its refusal to recognize the YU Pride Alliance,” said Katie Rosenfeld, the YU Pride Alliance’s attorney. “We hope that the university will accept the Pride Alliance's invitation to resolve the lawsuit by finally recognizing an authentic, student-run, mutually acceptable LGBTQ undergraduate student club that operates like all other clubs at YU.”
In Thursday’s decision, four judges from the First Judicial Department of the New York Appellate Court wrote that Yeshiva University does not meet the definition of a religious corporation incorporated under the education law or the religious corporation law, which would exempt it from the prohibitions against discrimination in public accommodations as an organization “deemed to be . . . distinctly private.”
In a statement to Gothamist on Thursday, a spokesperson said Yeshiva University plans to appeal the decision.
“Yeshiva is disappointed in the court’s ruling and will continue on appeal to defend against the claim that we are not a religious institution,” Yeshiva University spokesperson Hanan Eisenman said.
Next, it would go to the New York State Court of Appeals — the highest state-level court before potentially returning to the U.S. Supreme Court.