Members of an LGBTQ student club just made a surprising offer to their religious school
The offer is the latest twist in the legal battle between YU Pride Alliance and Yeshiva University
Students fighting for recognition of an LGBTQ rights club at Yeshiva University made a bold move on Wednesday to ensure their lawsuit doesn’t disrupt life on campus.
Members of YU Pride Alliance told Yeshiva officials they’d be willing to forego recognition for their club as the case works its way through the legal system if the school agreed to end its temporary suspension affecting all undergraduate student activities.
“This was a painful and difficult decision. We are agreeing to this stay while the case moves through the New York courts because we do not want YU to punish our fellow (students) by ending all student activities,” YU Pride Alliance said in a statement.
Leaders “said in an email to students that the pause was necessary in order to give them time to assess their next move,” the Deseret News reported.
The overall legal battle began last year, when the YU Pride Alliance filed a lawsuit alleging that Yeshiva officials had violated human rights protections by refusing to recognize the LGBTQ rights club. The students won at the trial court level and a judge also granted their request to be given formal recognition amid Yeshiva’s appeal.
Yeshiva officials have said that recognizing YU Pride Alliance would interfere with their effort to build a campus community based on “Torah values.”
“Yeshiva, in consultation with its senior rabbis, concluded that the club would be inconsistent with the religious environment it seeks to maintain on campus,” said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the law firm that represents the school, to the Deseret News earlier this month.
In a new statement, a spokesperson for Yeshiva said that they “appreciate” YU Pride Alliance’s gesture to “stay” the judge’s order.
“We look forward to it as an opportunity to resume the discussions we had begun, and which were halted by the lawsuit,” the statement said.
It continued, “We welcome and care deeply for all our students, including our LGBTQ community, and we remain committed to engaging in meaningful dialogue about how best to ensure an inclusive campus for all students in accordance with our religious beliefs. We are optimistic that we will be able to reach agreement on how we can do so, in a way that enables us to protect the University’s religious autonomy, supports our LGBTQ students and brings harmony to our entire community.”
The statement said that undergraduate student activities will likely resume soon after the Jewish holidays that begin this weekend.
In their own statement, the YU Pride Alliance said they were grateful for their community’s support and hopeful that Yeshiva officials will eventually embrace their club.
“We hope that YU will eventually accept our group for what it is: a safe place for discussion and support that LGBTQ+ students need on the YU campus to thrive,” the statement said.