GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Attorneys with the Christian Legal Society and Alliance Defense Fund filed suit in federal court Tuesday against University of Florida officials on behalf of a Christian fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX). University officials refuse to recognize BYX as a registered student group because the group limits its membership to Christian men, but the school does not apply a similar standard to other student organizations.
“Christian student groups cannot be singled out for discrimination. The right to associate with people of like mind and interest applies to all student groups on a public university campus,” said Timothy J. Tracey, litigation counsel for CLS’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom. “The University of Florida deprives BYX of this right when it forces the group to abandon its identity as a Christian men’s organization.”
BYX, or “Brothers Under Christ,” is a fraternity that seeks to teach male college students what it means to be Christian men. The university refuses to recognize BYX as an official student organization, claiming that the group’s requirement that members be Christian men is “discrimination.”
“The university recognizes the Women’s Chorale and Men’s Ice Hockey even though they are single-sex organizations,” said Tracey. “Why then is the university telling this fraternity it cannot limit its membership to Christian men?”
Without official recognition, BYX is denied critical benefits provided other student groups, such as access to meeting space and the ability to advertise and recruit members on campus. CLS and ADF attorneys are seeking a court ruling declaring the university’s policy unconstitutional and prohibiting officials from denying recognition to BYX.
The complaint filed in Beta Upsilon Chi v. Machen in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Gainesville Division, can be viewed here.
In December, the University of Georgia agreed to recognize BYX on its campus after ADF and CLS attorneys filed suit there.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.