Boise, Idaho – A group of Christian students are suing the University of Idaho after claiming they were censored for expressing their religious beliefs on same-sex marriage.
Peter Perlot, Mark Miller and Ryan Alexander filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern Divisional District of Idaho against University President C. Scott Green, Dean of Students Brian Eckles and others administrators.
According to court documents, Perlot and Miller attended a “community moment” on April 1 to speak out against an anti-LGBTQ slur found on the university campus in Moscow.
Members are also part of the chapter of the Christian Legal Society at the college’s law school. Other band members attended the event; however, Alexander was unable to attend due to illness.
As the students attended the event, another student asked the group why the CLS required its officers to affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The students claimed that their beliefs were rooted in the Bible and offered to discuss the issue further later.
However, word got out and the CLS was publicly denounced by non-members for its views on marriage on April 4 during a group meeting with the American Bar Association. CLS students denied allegations that they told students they were going to hell because they believed in same-sex marriage, and one CLS member said “the greatest discrimination he had seen on the campus was discrimination against CLS and its religious beliefs, and that he was concerned about the state of religious freedom on campus.”
The CLS students then claimed that the university had issued a no contact order, prohibiting them from interacting with a non-member to further discuss same-sex marriage. The CLS students argue they were not given a chance to defend themselves before the no contact order was issued and the university moved quickly to silence them.
“Instead of allowing students to civilly and respectfully disagree with each other and discuss these important issues, the University has instead chosen to censor complainants,” according to student attorney Matthew Williams. CLS.
“These actions violate the clearly established rights of students under the First Amendment’s free speech clause,” Williams continued.
Court documents say the university issued the order under its Title IX sexual harassment policy and code of conduct and disciplinary policies. However, the CLS student lawyer said the university denied due process for his client.
CLS students are suing for “declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief,” claiming the First and Fourteenth Amendments were violated.
FOX television stations have contacted the university for comment.
Idaho voters in 2006 voted to ban same-sex marriage. But the United States Supreme Court in 2015 made those marriages legal, overturning the Idaho law.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.