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Supreme Court of the United States

Finally . . . Common Sense at UTSA

By Gregory S. Baylor posted on:
October 17, 2017

After months of deliberation, the University of Texas at San Antonio Career Center has agreed to post job announcements for a pro-life, Christian residential home for needy pregnant women.  UTSA originally declined to post the announcements on the ground that they were "discriminatory."

Adoption Priorities is a Christian organization that provides adoption services.  It recently launched the Amaris Home project, through which Adoption Priorities will provide assistance to expectant mothers by providing a safe and compassionate home in which they may reside during their pregnancy.  Adoption Priorities hoped to hire "house parents" who would live at the facility, serve the needs of the residents, and act as Christian role models for them.

Amanda and Mitchell Way, Adoption Priorities' leaders, hoped to post a job announcement at the Career Center of their alma mater, the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Current students and alumni use the Career Center to find jobs.  The announcement stated that Adoption Priorities was seeking a "pro-life married Christian couple" who would provide "care, oversight and spiritual guidance" to a group of up to four women living in the home.  One spouse was required to have Christian ministry experience.  UTSA rejected the announcement as written, indicating that requiring the house parents to be pro-life and Christian was impermissibly discriminatory.  Under the logic of UTSA's position, Adoption Priorities could not post a job announcement at the Career Center unless it was willing to hire an atheist, pro-abortion, same-sex couple to serve as house parents.

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys wrote a letter to UTSA, explaining that the school was violating legal protections of religious liberty by rejecting the announcement.  The letter also explained that both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the analogous Texas state statute exempt religious employers from their bans on religious discrimination.  UTSA refused to change its mind, and ADF attorneys sent a "notice of claim" under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The subsequent communications between ADF attorneys and UTSA eventually caused UTSA to agree to post Adoption Priorities' job announcements in their original form.  I applaud UTSA for getting it right . . . finally.

Texas allies Allan Parker of The Justice Foundation and Jeff Mateer and Hiram Sasser of Liberty Institute worked with ADF attorneys on this matter.

Gregory S. Baylor

Gregory S. Baylor

Senior Counsel

Gregory S. Baylor serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is the director of the Center for Religious Schools and Senior Counsel for Government Affairs.

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