ON-Lion Letter
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. MartinezFoundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) co-founder and chairman Harvey Silverglate submitted an amicus curiae, or "friend-of-the-court," brief in the case for FIRE and the national Students for Liberty organization.
 
The Christian Legal Society (CLS), an evangelical Christian student group, accepts all students at its functions, but requires voting members and leaders to sign a Statement of Faith.  The statement endorses "biblical principles of sexual morality," and it makes clear that a student who "advocates or unrepentantly engages in sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman" isn't eligible to vote for or become a group leader.

The University of California Hastings College of the Law thus denied CLS official recognition as a student group, excluding it from participating in campus life on equal terms simply because it holds fast to sincerely held religious beliefs.

"The fundamental question in this case is straightforward but profoundly important:  May belief-based student organizations participate in the life of a public university without being forced to alter or abandon their core beliefs?" Silverglate asks in his brief.

"If the Court holds that the First Amendment does not protect a student group's right to exclude those who disagree with its core beliefs, controversial or unpopular groups will be powerless to avoid very real threats to their existence," the brief concludes. 

"Depriving belief-based student organizations of equal rights of speech and association simply because those organizations choose to govern themselves according to distinct ideological principles is fundamentally incompatible with this Court's precedents and relegates groups seeking to organize around unpopular or minority viewpoints to an unconstitutional second-class status on campus."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports FIRE.
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