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SCOTUS Rejects Christian Sorority's Religious Discrimination Claim

By Robyn Hagan Cain on March 20, 2012 4:10 PM

The Supreme Court rejected a religious discrimination appeal this week from Christian organizations seeking funding and campus benefits from San Diego State University (SDSU), reports Inside Higher Ed.

The groups, Alpha Delta Chi and Alpha Gamma Omega, were asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' August 2011 decision in Alpha Delta Chi v. Reed.

Alpha Delta Chi, a Christian sorority, and Alpha Gamma Omega, a Christian fraternity, have several religious requirements, including a "personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord." Both groups have repeatedly been denied official recognition in SDSU's student organization program because their religious requirements conflict with SDSU's non-discrimination policy.

SDSU's non-discrimination policy denies recognition to groups that restrict membership or eligibility to hold appointed or elected student officer positions on the basis of race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, ancestry, or medical condition, except as explicitly exempted under federal law.

Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the policy.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the groups, argued that the policy itself was discriminatory because other, recognized campus organizations were allowed to employ gender- and viewpoint-based admissions distinctions.

ADF attorney David Cortman criticized the High Court's failure to act on Monday, saying, "The university did not tell the Democratic club it must be led by a Republican, or the vegetarian club it must be led by a meat-eater, but it did tell Christian groups that they must allow themselves to be led by atheists," reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

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