Is there a pro-gay, anti-Christian bias in the legal system?

In Theory

July 09, 2010

On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of a decision by the UC Hastings School of Law to reject an application by a faith-based student group, the Christian Legal Society, to register as a student organization at the San Francisco campus. Hastings officials had rejected the society's application because the society's bylaws allegedly violated the campus's nondiscrimination policy by discriminating against homosexuals. Do you think that this ruling by the high court reveals a pro-gay bias in the American legal system that stacks the odds for a legal victory against religion-based organizations like the Christian Legal Society?

Would a student group be welcome on a public school campus if its bylaws discriminated against African-Americans, students with disabilities or women? This is not a matter of legal bias: It is about protecting the civil rights of minorities — in this case, gay students.

Groups like the Christian Legal Society, which have anti-gay agendas, do have a right to exist but they should remain off campus rather than expecting official university recognition and public funding. Progress is being made when the civil rights of gay students to be free of discrimination at a public institution trumps the right of these kinds of religious groups to promote their anti-gay beliefs.


The Rev. Dr. Deborah Barrett, Zen Center of Orange CountyCosta Mesa

From one point of view, "If you want to play the game, you must follow the rules." So long as the rules apply equally for everyone, it would seem like the Court's decision is fair and just. This does not seem to be the case here. The bias seems to be against religious groups. The Christian group required all of its officers and voting members to agree with its basic Christian beliefs.

As one of the lawyers pointed out, "The Hastings policy actually requires CLS to allow atheists to lead its Bible studies and the College Democrats to accept the election of Republican officers in order for the groups to be recognized on campus," though evidently the policy is applied in a discriminatory way.

Consider the words of dissenting Justice Samuel Alito: "Brushing aside inconvenient precedent, the Court arms public educational institutions with a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups … I can only hope that this decision will turn out to be an aberration."

Fr. Stephen Doktorczyk, St. Joachim ChurchCosta Mesa

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