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(LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 Wednesday to reject a Jewish university’s request to temporarily block a lower-court ruling forcing it to formally recognize an LGBT student group, just days after a stay was granted by left-wing Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Yeshiva University declares on its website that “our five core Torah values comprise our moral compass and guide us toward a better future,” and that the school is “[r]ooted in Jewish thought and tradition,” with one of its “foundations” being “the importance of enriching and enhancing Jewish life and growth both on our campuses and in the Jewish community at large.”

Accordingly, in 2020 it rejected the establishment of YU Pride Alliance as a recognized on-campus group, explaining that the “message of Torah on this issue is nuanced, both accepting each individual with love and affirming its timeless prescriptions. While students will of course socialize in gatherings they see fit, forming a new club as requested under the auspices of YU will cloud this nuanced message.”

Instead, the school announced a series of measures meant to address legitimate concerns of homosexual or gender-confused students without “clouding” the faith’s moral teachings, such as updating its sensitivity training, hiring a counselor with experience in LGBT issues, and creating a phone line to report harassment and bullying.

That didn’t satisfy campus LGBT activists, who filed a lawsuit. In June, Judge Lynn Kotler of the New York County Supreme Court ruled that Yeshiva was subject to the New York City Human Rights Law and “not a ‘religious corporation,’” so it must “immediately grant plaintiff YU Pride Alliance the full equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges afforded to all other student groups at Yeshiva University.”

Yeshiva appealed, and on September 9 Sotomayor ordered the lower ruling “ stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court,” without elaboration as to the issues of the dispute. On September 14, however, five justices (including Sotomayor) vacated that order and denied Yeshiva’s application on the grounds that the school still has “at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief” before having the nation’s highest court take over.

“First, applicants may ask the New York courts to expedite consideration of the merits of their appeal. Applicants do not assert, nor does the Appellate Division docket reveal, that they have ever requested such relief,” reads the opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “Second, applicants may file with the Appellate Division a corrected motion for permission to appeal that court’s denial of a stay to the New York Court of Appeals, as the Appellate Division clerk’s office directed applicants to do on August 25. Applicants may also ask the Appellate Division to expedite consideration of that motion.”

“If applicants seek and receive neither expedited review nor interim relief from the New York courts,” they added, “they may return to this Court.”

Conservative Samuel Alito wrote a dissent, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett joined, arguing that the Court should have granted a stay because Yeshiva’s plight against New York’s “shocking” actions “easily satisfies” the requirements to show that “it would likely prevail if review is granted,” it “will suffer irreparable harm during the time it takes for the completion of the appellate process,” and that “neither the interests of other parties nor those of the public militate in favor of denial.”

“The First Amendment guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion, and if that provision means anything, it prohibits a State from enforcing its own preferred interpretation of Holy Scripture,” Alito writes. “Yet that is exactly what New York has done in this case, and it is disappointing that a majority of this Court refuses to provide relief.”

“As a last resort, Yeshiva turned to this Court, but the majority—for no good reason—sends the University back to the state courts,” he laments. “The upshot is that Yeshiva is almost certain to be compelled for at least some period of time (and perhaps for a lengthy spell) to instruct its students in accordance with what it regards as an incorrect interpretation of Torah and Jewish law.”

The majority’s advice to the university is insufficient, he adds, because “even expedited review could take months, and during all that time, the University would be required to continue to make the statement about Torah that it finds objectionable.” Further, “the majority seems to think that it is still possible for the University to persuade the Court of Appeals to grant a stay” when “the Court of Appeals has already denied Yeshiva’s application for interim relief.”

“I doubt that Yeshiva’s return to state court will be fruitful, and I see no reason why we should not grant a stay at this time,” Alito concludes. “It is our duty to stand up for the Constitution even when doing so is controversial.”

The majority of the current justices were appointed by Republican presidents, but their jurisprudence has been mixed. This summer, the Supreme Court delivered conservatives major victories on gun rights, environmental regulation, and most significantly abortion with the overturn of Roe v. Wade, but they have also disappointed conservatives with dismissive rulings on COVID-19 vaccine mandates, religious freedom, and LGBT accommodation.