The University of Iowa was wrong to strip a Christian student group of its registered status, a court has ruled.
Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) had previously been denied official status after refusing to appoint an openly homosexual student in a leadership role.
The judge ruled that the university had violated BLinC’s free speech and religious liberty.
Open to all
The university revoked the student group’s registration in November 2017 citing its human rights policies.
This meant BLinC could no longer reserve meeting rooms or participate in student recruitment fairs.
It challenged the policy, arguing that its membership is open to all students but that leaders must be in agreement with its values.
Judge Stephanie Rose found inconsistencies in how different organisations were handled.
Judge Rose ruled that the university had unevenly applied its human rights policy by allowing other groups to limit membership based on religious views, race, sex and other protected characteristics.
“Particularly when free speech is involved, the uneven application of any policy risks the most exacting standard of judicial scrutiny, which the defendants have failed to withstand”, she said.
BLinC President, Jake Estell said: “We are grateful the court protected our rights today – to let us have the same rights as all student groups to express our viewpoints freely on campus”.
He added: “This victory reinforces the common sense idea that universities can’t target religious student groups for being religious.”