The seemingly straightforward question as to whether student groups at public colleges should be able to discriminate in membership has more layers than an onion. Thanks to legislation passed by the General Assembly, Gov. Bob McDonnell now has to peel it.
Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled, narrowly, that a California law school could decline to recognize a Christian student group because of its requirement that prospective members forswear a “sexually immoral lifestyle.” The court’s five-member majority said U.C. Hastings’ nondiscrimination policy did not violate the Christian Legal Society’s First Amendment rights of free association and free expression. Hastings was “dangling the carrot of subsidy, not wielding the stick of prohibition,” wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.