Faith tests okayed for campus Christian group at ASU
aebrownstein at law.ucdavis.edu
Wed Oct 19 15:39:24 PDT 2005
Can someone describe the controlling constitutional principle that
applies to these cases. Does it extend only to access to what may be
characterized as some kind of forum (public or non public)? Does it
apply Does it apply only to "official recognition" or also to financial
support or preferential access (perks/perqs)? (For example can a
university decide to provide additional financial support or meeting
opportunities to campus groups that agree not to discriminate on the
basis of various characteristics - age, sex, race, sexual orientation,
religion etc.) Does a University have the constitutional authority to
prohibit discriminatory practices by recognized campus clubs. Can it
prohibit the Chess Club from refusing to accept black or Jewish
I know nothing about the ASU case - but these issues have always seemed
more complicated to me than they apparently are to other people.
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Brad M Pardee
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 11:00 AM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: Faith tests okayed for campus Christian group at ASU
Marty Lederman wrote on 10/19/2005 11:34:46 AM:
> Yes, of course, the private club has a "right" (although not a
> constitutional one, I'd argue) to exclude from membership any
> persons who are sexually active outside marriage (which is what the
> settlement apparently involves).
As I read the settlement description, though, they ARE able to exclude
from membership any persons who are sexually active outside marriage.
They have drawn a distinction between sexual orientation and sexual
behavior, and according to the lawyer for CLS, this "is what we asked
for in the lawsuit".
> The question at issue, however, is not "membership," as such, but
> instead the group's eligibility to be "recognized" by the
> university, and to be given the public perqs that come with such
I don't know what it's like at ASU, but at the University of Nebraska,
where I work, official recognition isn't so much about "public perq" as
much as it is about the ability to function on campus. If your group is
not recognized, there are limitations on being able to advertise your
group's activities, your group can't reserve a meeting room on campus,
and so on and so forth. Those hardly qualify as perqs but rather the
essentials of being able to function.
> ASU has decided, like most schools, that it will not afford such
> recognition and perqs to any groups that discriminate on the basis
> of sexual orientation -- on the quite reasonable theory that ASU
> does not wish to facilitate, or be party to, any activities for
> which a percentage of its student body would be ineligible by virtue
> of their sexual orientation.
Every campus has a percentage of its student body which would be
ineligible for membership in some organizations. Are the College
Republicans required to be allowed to join the College Democrats and
serve in leadership? Is a campus pro-life group required to accept
members who are actively involved in preserving the legal right to an
abortion? Is an organization of Jewish students required to accept
members who are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.? Of course
not. So why should the Christian organizations be the only
organizations that are forced to accept members who don't subscribe to
the group's beliefs?
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