Christian student group sues U of Iowa, incites debate on religious freedom and LGBTQ rights

Aug 4, 2018 by

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University of Iowa says it’s trying to assure equal opportunity by not letting registered groups bar gay students from leadership roles. But a Christian group with legal backing says it should have just that right.

University of Iowa says it’s trying to assure equal opportunity by not letting registered groups bar gay students from leadership roles. But a Christian group with legal backing says it should have just that right.

To show that it hasn’t discriminated against a Christian student organization, the University of Iowa is withdrawing recognition from dozens of student groups. The move may be a sign of the political and legal times, as religious freedom advocacy groups are challenging public university policies that bar student organizations from discriminating against gay people. And the situation comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that said antireligious bias can’t be the motivation for state policies to protect gay rights.

To date, the university has withdrawn registration from 30 student organizations after they failed to submit constitutions that adhered to the university’s human rights policy. The crackdown came amid a pending court case between the university and a Christian student organization, Business Leaders in Christ, which is suing the university after it withdrew recognition for the group for barring a gay member from assuming a leadership role.

The dispute began in March 2016, when a gay member of Business Leaders in Christ approached Hannah Thompson, then president of the organization, about becoming vice president. While the student was allowed to remain a member of the club, the group’s executive board denied him a leadership role because “his decision to seek same-sex relationships was inconsistent with [Business Leaders in Christ]’s religious beliefs,” according to background provided by the legal group representing the Christian organization.

Source: Christian student group sues U of Iowa, incites debate on religious freedom and LGBTQ rights

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