The US Supreme Court has ruled against a Christian law student group that sought funding from a public university but refused to abide by its non-discrimination policy.

The Christian Legal Society (CLS) – which bars gays and lesbians from joining its ranks – sued the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, which requires all student groups to adopt a non-discrimination policy in order to receive school recognition and funds.

Groups that do not have official recognition are still permitted to meet and use school facilities. The group’s constitution calls for its members to “abstain from sexual conduct outside of traditional marriage, including homosexuality.”

The Court ruled, 5-4, that the university’s policy does not infringe the First Amendment rights of the CLS.

“…The Court upheld an important principle for all Americans, that government should not be forced to subsidise discrimination,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“UC Hastings and schools like it all over the country have worked hard to create welcoming spaces for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Today’s decision bolsters those efforts, while recognising that Christian Legal Society, and groups like it, are free to exclude whomever they want – without the financial support of their fellow students or taxpayers,” he said.

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