Monday's ruling was a rebuff to the Alpha Delta Chi sorority and Alpha Gamma Omega fraternity, Christian organizations at Cal State, San Diego, that had sought to challenge a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that official student organizations within the university system could not receive funding unless they have a valid non-discriminatory policy of accepting all students. The decision allows a 9th Circuit Court ruling upholding the university policy, to stand, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.
The CSU system denies official recognition and funding to student organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin and sexual orientation. The university's objective is to "remove access barriers imposed against groups that have historically been excluded," rather than suppress free speech, said Judge Harry Pregerson in the appeals court's 3-0 ruling in August.
The plaintiff's lawyer disagreed with Monday's ruling.
"The university did not tell the Democratic club it must be led by a Republican, or the vegetarian club it must be led by a meat-eater, but it did tell Christian groups that they must allow themselves to be led by atheists," said David Cortman of the Alliance Defense Fund, a lawyer for the religious groups.
Cortman said the ruling would make CSUSD "a stronghold for censorship" -- which an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer derided, the newspaper said.
"They're perfectly free to express their views and associate" with one another on campus, said attorney David Blair-Loy, who filed arguments supporting the university in lower courts. "They just don't have the right to get government money to do it."