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1. Supreme Court to decide whether campus Christian groups must allow gay leaders

In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Christian Legal Society (CLS) chapter at the University of California's Hastings College of Law must allow students who disagree with the group's statement of faith to take leadership positions.

That ruling seems somewhat at odds with a 2006 ruling by a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the court told Southern Illinois University it could not revoke official status for a CLS chapter.

On Monday, the Supreme Court said it would hear the Hastings Law case (Christian Legal Society v. Martinez). After the 9th Circuit decision, Timothy J. Tracey told Christianity Today that the Supreme Court's 2000 decision Boy Scouts v. Dale should shape the outcome. "It was about whether or not the Scouts had to accept an openly homosexual guy as a Scout leader," Tracey said. "There were two important aspects of the Supreme Court's decision that relate to the CLS case. One was that a core value of the Scouts was that engaging in homosexual activity was immoral. The second is that you'd have to put this guy in a position of leadership—he'd be leading, teaching, instructing, and that would affect the impression of the group."

But Boy Scouts v. Dale won't be CLS's only argument. The group notes that Hastings grants exceptions to its open membership rule and has singled out CLS. "In the Hastings Democratic Caucus, you have to support the mission of the Democratic Party," Tracey said. "In Silenced Right, a pro-life group on campus, they say, 'We want you to agree with our pro-life beliefs and principles.'" If the school grants exceptions to some groups but not to CLS, it ...

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December 2009

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