Court rejects University of Iowa appeal, finding ‘viewpoint’ discrimination

Vanessa Miller
The Gazette

Excerpt: After nearly four years fighting certain religious student organizations on its campus over who can and can’t be leaders, the University of Iowa (UI) on Friday lost again in federal court — with a panel of U.S. appellate judges blasting the institution for clear viewpoint discrimination. According to a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, “It targeted religious groups for differential treatment under the human rights policy — while carving out exemptions and ignoring other violative groups with missions they presumably supported.”

The InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship — at the center of Friday’s opinion — sued the UI in 2018 on the heels of an earlier lawsuit by another UI student organization named Business Leaders in Christ, or BLinC. That first lawsuit stemmed from the university’s decision in 2017 to deregister BLinC for barring an openly gay member from becoming a leader because he refused to affirm the group’s belief that same-sex relationships are against the Bible. The lawsuit pointed out this rule was applied selectively, as other UI groups — including Muslim groups, ethnic groups, political groups, fraternities and sororities — restrict leadership and membership based on gender, ethnicity or ideology.