The Supreme Court will hear the case of gay students who were barred from joining a club at the University of California’s Hastings College Of The Law in San Francisco.
The college, which requires officially recognized student groups to admit any Hastings student who wants to join, may be well-meaning, says the student outpost of the Christian Legal Society. But the group contends that requiring it to allow gay students and nonbelievers into its leadership would be a renunciation of its core beliefs, and that the policy violates the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech, association with like-minded individuals and exercise of religion. “Hastings’ policy is a threat to every group that seeks to form and define its own voice,” the group told the court in a brief. The case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, will be argued in the Supreme Court Monday morning. Hastings counters that the CLS, a national organization that seeks to “proclaim, love and serve Jesus Christ through the study and practice of law,” is demanding special treatment. It wants the college’s official stamp of approval and the access to benefits and student activity fees that come with it, but it will not commit to following the nondiscrimination policy that every other student group follows.
The college is being represented by Paul Smith, who successfully argued Lawrence Vs. Texas, the landmark case that the struck down the nation’s sodomy laws.