A state judge ruled that the New York City's Yeshiva University was a non-religious organization and therefore must approve the creation of an LGBT club under the city's anti-discrimination law.
The Yeshiva University Pride Alliance, along with a group of former and current students, sued the university in April for discrimination.
Lynn Kotler, a judge in the New York Supreme Court First Judicial District, ruled that Yeshiva University was considered an "educational corporation," not a religious one, and must comply with the New York City Human Rights Law.
The judge cited the university's own charter, which states the school's purpose was to be an educational institution.
"The record shows that the purpose students attend Yeshiva is to obtain an education, not for religious worship or some other function which is religious at its core," Kotler wrote, the Washington Examiner reported. "Thus, religion is necessarily secondary to education at Yeshiva."
Yeshiva will appeal the decision, the university told The Commentator in a statement.
"The court's ruling violates the religious liberty upon which this country was founded," a university spokesperson told The Commentator. "The decision permits courts to interfere in the internal affairs of religious schools, hospitals, and other charitable organizations. Any ruling that Yeshiva is not religious is obviously wrong.
"As our name indicates, Yeshiva University was founded to instill Torah values in its students while providing a stellar education, allowing them to live with religious conviction as noble citizens and committed Jews. While we love and care for our students, who are all – each and every one – created in God's image, we firmly disagree with today's ruling and will immediately appeal the decision."
The Pride Alliance had attempted to gain recognition as a club through the school's formal club approval process, and the administration refused to grant the group recognition multiple times.
Kotler ruled that the university must "immediately grant plaintiff YU Pride Alliance the full equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges afforded to all other student groups at Yeshiva University."
The ruling comes as the New York Department of Education has proposed new measures on religious institutions.
The department's proposed guidelines are an attempt to ensure that independent and parochial schools legally must provide an education that's at least "substantially equivalent" to what is offered in the public school sector, the New York Post reported.
Religious schools say the regulations would violate their First Amendment protections to the free exercise of religion.
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