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Courts to reconsider ruling on San Jose Unified acknowledgement of Christian organization

A federal appeals court ordered a new hearing after withdrawing a ruling requiring San Jose Unified to acknowledge the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as an official student organization, despite it not allowing LGBTQ students in leadership positions. The new hearing will be before a larger panel of 11 judges, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco initially ruled on the case in August, declaring that not recognizing the group was an act of religious discrimination. 

The school district stopped recognizing the religious organization in 2019 because it was not open to all students. The organization was still permitted to meet but was no longer able to keep its money in the school bank account or be listed in the yearbook, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. In its policies, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes included a statement for its members, saying that biblical marriage is between one man and one woman.

In the 2-1 ruling, judges said the organization was targeted for its views rather than its alleged violation of non-discrimination policies and that, on the other hand, that the ruling was premature because students had yet to apply for recognition.