Christian students sue for censorship after they allegedly harassed people at an LGBTQ vigil
Three Christian students are suing the University of Idaho students for allegedly censoring them from expressing their opposition to same-sex marriage.
The students – Peter Perlot, Mark Miller, and Ryan Alexander – are members of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) at the university’s School of Law.
On April 1, university students held a “moment of community” to protest an anti-LGBTQ slur found on campus. Perlot and Miller decided to attend the event, and, according to them, they were asked by other students why their group require that their officers state that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The CLS members said that they simply cited the Bible as the basis for their beliefs and offered to discuss the issue more in-depth at a later time. Other students, though, said that the CLS members told them that they were going to hell for supporting marriage equality. The CLS students claim they never said that.
But students began discussing the group’s requirement on campus and publicly denounced CLS at an April 4 meeting of the American Bar Association, KSAZ reported.
The CLS members then said that the university issued a no-contact order directing the group’s members not to discuss same-sex marriage with any other students.
“Instead of allowing the students to disagree civilly and respectfully with one another and to discuss these important issues, the University chose instead to censor Plaintiffs,” said Matthew Williams, the attorney for the aforementioned CLS students.
Williams said the university’s alleged actions violated the CLS members’ First Amendment free speech rights and 14th Amendment rights to due process. The students are now suing for “declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief.”
The CLS members said that “the biggest discrimination” they ever witnessed on campus was discrimination against CLS and its religious beliefs. Their views align with the misconception shared by 60 percent of white evangelicals that Christians are widely discriminated against, despite their religion’s dominance in U.S. government and cultural life.
The university reportedly issued its no-contact order under its Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and its Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Policies.
CLS’ official website states that religious individuals are under “tremendous societal pressure” to “acquiesce to changing cultural standards” about same-sex marriage and LGBTQ identity due to a “narrow” 2015 Supreme Court ruling.
“As believers, we are called to live under God’s authority and with a consistent understanding of Biblical truths about human sexuality,” the website states.