Justice Department backs Christian group in U. Iowa dispute
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The federal government is supporting a Christian group that’s suing the University of Iowa after losing campus recognition for denying a leadership position to a gay student.
The Justice Department filed a “statement of interest” backing a lawsuit filed by Business Leaders in Christ, arguing the university violated its rights to free speech and assembly.
The university revoked the group’s registration in November 2017 after a student complained that the group denied his request to serve as vice president after disclosing he’s gay.
The group said the student rejected its religious beliefs, which includes signing a “statement of faith” affirming that members embrace “their God-given sex” and only support marriage between a man and a woman.
A judge has ordered the school to temporarily reinstate the group until it’s lawsuit is resolved.
A Justice Department official says Iowa administrators punished the group because they “did not like its message,” which is unconstitutional.
The university says it doesn’t tolerate discrimination.