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Justice Dept. sides with Christian student group against Univ. of Iowa

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IOWA CITY — A Christian student group that was deregistered by the University of Iowa for not accepting LGBTQ students just got a boost from the U.S. Justice Department.

The Justice Department announced its support for the group as it sues the university, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported on Friday.

Business Leaders in Christ sued the university late last year when UI deregistered the group for not allowing a gay student into a leadership position. A judge ruled in July that UI had to allow the group to register as the case works its way through the courts.

From the Press-Citizen:

The federal agency submitted a “Statement of Interest” in the case involving the UI and the student group Business Leaders in Christ in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

“It’s significant to have the United States come in and support our case,” said attorney Eric Baxter of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “And tell the university that they’re engaging in textbook violations of students’ First Amendment rights.”

The university deregistered the Christian group in November 2017 after an openly gay student complained he was not permitted to be the group’s vice president when he refused to sign a “Statement of Faith.”

The statement “adopts the viewpoint that ‘sexual relationship[s]’ should exist only ‘between a man and a wife in the lifelong covenant marriage’ and that ‘every person should embrace, not reject, their God-given sex,'” according to the government’s supporting statement.

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