Idaho University Prevented From Punishing Christian Students Who Opposed Homosexuality

A judge issued a temporary block of the university’s policy.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The University of Idaho’s policy that barred students from talking about their views on same-sex marriage has been put on hold.
  • A judge issued a temporary block of the policy that censored three students who expressed opposition to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.
  • Students Peter Perlot, Mark Miller, and Ryan Alexander sued the university over the policy with the help of the Christian Legal Society.
  • Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye issued an order noting that university officials targeted the plaintiffs over their religious beliefs on same-sex marriage.
THE JUDGE’S ORDER:
  • “Defendants’ orders targeted the viewpoint of Plaintiffs’ speech. Both students and professors expressed opposing viewpoints to the views expressed by Plaintiffs without any type of intervention, let alone punishment,” wrote Nye in his decision about the university policy.
  • “The disparity in Defendants’ approach is what bothers the Court most about this case and leans towards a finding that Defendants’ actions were designed to repress specific speech.”Nye added that “the Court agrees Plaintiffs have a high likelihood of showing Defendants violated the First Amendment by issuing the no-contact orders based on the content and viewpoint of their speech.”
  • “Some may disagree with Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs. Such is each person’s prerogative and right. But none should disagree that Plaintiffs have a right to express their religious beliefs without fear of retribution. The Constitution makes that clear,” he added.
BACKGROUND:
  • The suit filed by the students names University President C. Scott Green, Dean of Students Brian Eckles, Office of Civil Rights & Investigations Director Erin Agidius, and OCRI Deputy Director Lindsay Ewan.
  • The suit claims that the students were at an LGBT event on campus looking to represent a biblical perspective on marriage and sexuality.