High Court: Christian Student Group Can't Bar Gays

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, Monday that a law school in California can deny recognition to a Christian student group that bars admission to homosexuals.

In the case of the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, Christian law students wanted the benefits of being recognized by the Hastings College of Law at University of California.

But they required members to sign a statement of faith -- one that bans practicing homosexuals and non-believers. The school demanded that student groups accept anyone who wanted to join them as a member.

The High Court's ruling Monday upholds a lower court ruling against the Christian Legal Society. The majority wrote that the Christian group's First Amendment rights of association, free speech and free exercise were not violated by the college's decision.

Click play for more reaction on the Supreme Court ruling and what it could mean for other religious clubs and organizations on college campuses with Casey Mattox, legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.

"If you want state funding, public funding, and you want to use the Hastings name, then you have to abide by the Hastings policy," said Leo Martinez, acting chancellor and dean of the Hastings College of Law.

"This is about the ability, the freedom of everybody to be able to form groups based around shared beliefs and be able to express themselves on campus," Michael McConnell, with the Hastings Christian Legal Society, said. "The particulars of what they believe just doesn't matter."

Justice Samuel Alito, who dissented, wrote that the ruling was "a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country."

"Our proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom of express 'the thought that we hate,"' Alito said. "Today's decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom of expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country's institutions of higher learning."

The group known as Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty has backed the Christian Legal Society, arguing the college's policy would also ban gay-only groups.

The ruling will undoubtedly have huge implications for Christian groups on college campuses across the nation.

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.