A Court Just Ruled That These Christian Law Students Can Continue to Share Their Faith on Campus

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represents law students Peter Perlot, Mark Miller, and Ryan Alexander, who are members of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) at the University of Idaho law school. They filed a lawsuit against the school after administrators issued a “no contact” order against them and the chapter’s faculty advisor, Professor Richard Seamon, barring them from sharing their faith on campus.

ADF reported that a student had asked why the group required leaders to affirm that marriage is the God-ordained union between one man and one woman. The answer? Because the Bible teaches us so. Perlot wrote the student a note offering to discuss it and exchange ideas.

Apparently she took issue with the answer to her question and the note. She and others condemned the CLS during an American Bar Association meeting. An excerpt:

Alexander attended that meeting and explained that the characterizations were inaccurate, that the greatest amount of discrimination he had seen on campus was the discrimination against CLS and its religious beliefs, and that he was concerned about the state of religious freedom on campus.

The CLS members filed a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds. They alleged that the no-contact order amounted to viewpoint discrimination, prior restraint, and religious discrimination.

ADF announced that a federal court issued a preliminary injunction against the school. The University of Idaho must rescind the “no contact” order, and the students are free to share their beliefs on campus.

“Surely, issuing no-contact orders left and right for speech that is viewed more or less favorably by one party is not the least-restrictive means of protecting everyone involved,” the court wrote (PDF). “Defendants have not shown their approach is narrowly tailored or that it will protect Plaintiffs’ rights in the future.”

The court concluded that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their second claim and third claims: First Amendment free exercise of religion and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, respectively.

“Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s leaders, judges, and voters, so it’s imperative that university officials model the First Amendment freedoms they are supposed to be teaching their students,” ADF Senior Counsel and director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom Tyson Langhofer said. “The University of Idaho must stop discriminating against students’ religious beliefs and allow students of all ideological perspectives to freely debate important issues of our day.”

Photo credit: By Davidlharlan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, link

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