Court to hear arguments on campus Christian group

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In a case that pits nondiscrimination policies against freedom of religion, the Supreme Court is grappling with whether universities and colleges can deny official recognition to Christian student groups that refuse to let non-Christians and gays join.

The high court was to hear arguments Monday from the Christian Legal Society at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law. The Christian group said its constitutional freedoms of speech, religion and association were violated when it was denied recognition as a student group by the San Francisco-based school.

The group has made this argument at several universities around the nation with mixed results. The high court's decision could set a national standard for universities and colleges to follow when Christian and other groups that want to exclude certain people apply for money and recognition from the school.

Hastings said it turned the Christian Legal Society down because all recognized campus groups, which are eligible for financing and other benefits, may not exclude people due to religious belief, sexual orientation and other reasons.

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