Good News for Religious Liberty

By February 17, 2005

In a post Monday, I noted that oral arguments in Alpha Iota Omega v. Moeser were scheduled for yesterday. First reports out of Chapel Hill are extremely encouraging. The judge summarily denied the university’s motion to dismiss AIO’s complaint—thereby allowing the lawsuit to proceed—and he made some encouraging comments regarding the merits of AIO’s claims. The Durham Herald-Sun has reported on the hearing. Here are the principal paragraphs:

A Christian fraternity at UNC is on the verge of regaining official status as a student organization following a hearing Wednesday in federal court.

The three members of Alpha Iota Omega sued UNC last year in a dispute over the university’s non-discrimination policy that would have required the fraternity to admit non-Christians.

UNC attorneys appeared Wednesday to concede some ground on the issue, leaving the students and their lawyers beaming.

No conclusion was reached, but the sides agreed to work together on a legally binding document that, once approved by federal Judge Frank W. Bullock Jr., is expected to reinstate Alpha Iota Omega as a recognized student organization.

“The judge basically agreed with us [Wednesday] that the policy has some constitutional problems,” said Jordan Lorence, an attorney representing the fraternity. “The university agreed to issue some clarification of the policy. I think this is a great victory for freedom of speech.”

Schools: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill