Judge orders Yeshiva University to recognize LGBTQ organization

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(New York Jewish Week) – The New York County Supreme Court has ruled that Yeshiva University must recognize an LGBTQ pride group on campus.

Judge Lynn Kotler ordered the Modern Orthodox University to provide the YU Pride Alliance with “totally equal accommodations, benefits, facilities, and privileges accorded to all other student groups at Yeshiva University.”

Tuesday’s ruling ends a dispute that dates back to at least 2020, when seven LGBTQ student activists and allies filed a lawsuit with the New York City Commission on Human Rights accusing the university of discrimination. Administrators had reversed a student government decision to recognize the gay pride group.

In its ruling, Kotler said YU is licensed as a non-religious organization and therefore subject to New York City human rights law.

In its court documents, Yeshiva University acknowledged that although it was incorporated as non-sectarian, it was guided by its religious beliefs. “The court’s decision violates the religious freedom on which this country was founded,” a spokesperson for YU told The Commentator, a campus newspaper.

Gay sex is prohibited by nearly all Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law, although attitudes toward people who identify as queer have waned somewhat in Modern Orthodox contexts in recent years.

The Manhattan-based university intends to appeal the decision.

queer jewish youth, a nonprofit organization representing the interests of gay Orthodox Jews, hailed the decision as “a victory for human dignity, mental health and campus safety,” said Rachael Fried, executive director of JQY and alumnus of YU, in a statement.

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