Texas university backs down from banning Christian ad

SAN ANTONIO, Texas ( — Officials at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) reversed course Friday and agreed to permit a job posting seeking married, pro-life Christian houseparents, which they had previously refused on the grounds that the advertisement was “discriminatory.”

Public interest groups, Alliance Defense Fund, The Justice Foundation, and Liberty Institute, had persuaded university officials to relent and allow the posting from Adoption Priorities, a Christian organization that assists with adoptions and runs a residential facility serving expectant women in distress. Adoption Priorities was seeking houseparents in the ad who would work in that facility to help the women there.

“Christian organizations shouldn’t be discriminated against for their beliefs and denied equal access to public university services that are available to everyone else,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor.

Baylor said that while UTSA officials did “the right thing,” he added that “the larger battle isn’t over.”

“More and more universities are excluding Christian organizations from their campuses and are thereby communicating the message that groups are free to use their facilities and services only if they don’t practice their religion,” he continued.

After UTSA refused to post Adoption Priorities’ employment notice with other job announcements at its career center, ADF and its allies sent a letter to school officials, urging them to allow the posting rather than open themselves up to possible legal action.

UTSA defended its decision to bar the Christian group’s announcement on the basis that the ad’s descriptions contained “discriminatory” position requirements. Officials said UTSA’s policy excluded employers who “discriminate.”

ADF says it provided UTSA with information demonstrating that Adoption Priorities is a “religious employer” entitled to religious exemptions in federal and state anti-discrimination laws.  After ADF formally notified UTSA that it would face legal action, the university then allowed the listing to be posted on its campus.

“Religious employers preserve their religious character and advance their religious missions by hiring employees who share their beliefs,” Baylor explained. “Adoption Priorities wanted houseparents who would model Christian living, offer Christian guidance to women in crisis pregnancies, and, most of all, encourage them not to get abortions. An unmarried, non-Christian, pro-abortion couple simply could not do that job.”

The case was similar to another situation in November involving a Michigan woman reported to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights for posting an ad specifying she was looking for a Christian roommate on her church’s bulletin board. ADF also became involved, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development later dismissed the complaint.

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