Paul L. Caron

Sunday, October 30, 2022

‘Alternative’ or ‘Sham’? Yeshiva U. Created A New LGBTQ Club — But Won’t Recognize The One That Sued

Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Alternative’ or ‘Sham’? Yeshiva U. Created a New LGBTQ Club — but Won’t Recognize the One That Sued:

Yeshiva Pride LogoYeshiva University on Monday announced the creation of a new undergraduate student club “for LGBTQ students striving to live authentic Torah lives” [FAQ]. Yeshiva’s move is the latest in an escalating legal battle between former students and the Modern Orthodox Jewish university, which reached the U.S. Supreme Court last month.

Members of the YU Pride Alliance took the university to court in April 2021 over its refusal to recognize the LGBTQ student group as a club. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the university to recognize the Pride Alliance while it appeals a June ruling by a New York court against Yeshiva in the case.

Then the university temporarily suspended all student activities, and the Pride Alliance agreed not to seek official recognition until the legal battle has concluded.

The university said in a statement on Monday that it would not recognize the Pride Alliance because of its association with other chapters nationally, and that forming a new, unassociated club was the only path the university would accept. The new club is positioned as “an Orthodox alternative” that upholds an uncompromising approach to Halakha, or traditional Jewish law.

“Pride Alliance is a recognized movement in colleges throughout the country that not only fights anti-LGBTQ discrimination, a cause which we fully support, but also promotes activities that conflict with Torah laws and values,” the university’s statement reads.

The university did not respond to The Chronicle‘s questions about those conflicts. According to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ rights, some Orthodox Jewish readings of the Torah and later rabbinic writings prohibit sexual relationships between individuals of the same sex and base gender roles on birth biology.

Yeshiva’s FAQ page about the new club says that it was created through conversations with “rabbis, educators, and current and past undergraduate LGBTQ students.” The YU Pride Alliance, which was founded and led by Yeshiva students, disputes that claim.

In a statement, the alliance asserted that the new club is a “desperate stunt” and “sham” that has no student leadership or members. “It is a feeble attempt by YU to continue denying LGBTQ students equal treatment as full members of the YU student community,” the statement said.

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