Federal judge says Christian student group can bar gay student at Univ. of Iowa

IOWA CITY — A federal judge ruled that the University of Iowa can’t remove a Christian student group as a registered organization for barring a gay student from a leadership post.

NBC OUT reported on Thursday about the ruling. The university has been fighting the group, Business Leaders in Christ (BLiC), since 2017. In December, the U.S. Justice Department filed a supportive interest for BLiC.

From NBC OUT:

U.S. District Judge Stephanie M. Rose on Wednesday granted a permanent injunction banning the university from rejecting the status of the group, Business Leaders in Christ, The Des Moines Register reported.

Rose found 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.

The University of Iowa told NBC OUT it would follow the court’s decision.

BLiC had come under fire because it doesn’t allow LGBTQ students into leadership positions. The university said that was a violation of their human rights policy and tried to remove the group as a registered organizations. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been involved in religious-freedom cases like one involving Hobby Lobby,  represented BLinC.

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