Revisiting Gay Rights Coalition of Georgetown Law Center V. Georgetown University a Decade Later: Free Exercise Challenges and the Nondiscrimination Laws Protecting Homosexuals
32 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2006
Using the controversial 1987 case between Georgetown University and a gay and lesbian student organization as a backdrop, this article analyzes the free exercise rights of religiously-affiliated colleges and universities and their ability to discriminate against gay and lesbian student groups. The article tracks the jurisprudential development of free exercise challenges and details why current United States Supreme Court precedent provides little protection for such colleges and universities. Given the weakened state of free exercise rights, this article examines what rights and protections, if any, gays and lesbians have under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and local and state nondiscrimination laws. The article argues that states' Tenth Amendment police power should render local and state nondiscrimination laws protecting gays and lesbians as superior to free exercise claims from religiously-affiliated colleges and universities like the Catholic Georgetown University. The article thus concludes that unlike the 1987 case, current free exercise jurisprudence, coupled with the potency of local and state nondiscrimination laws, would dictate that the rights of gay and lesbian student groups should prevail over the free exercise challenges of religiously-affiliated colleges and universities.
Keywords: Gays, Lesbians, Homosexuals, Free Exercise, Nondiscrimination
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