Christian Legal Society and Montana Law School Settle Dispute

The Christian Legal Society on Wednesday formally dropped a federal lawsuit against the University of Montana School of Law in response to a settlement reached in a dispute involving the financing of student groups. The settlement came as the case was pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, on a Christian Legal Society appeal of a lower-court ruling upholding the law school’s decision to deny a campus chapter recognition and funds because the society’s membership criteria discriminate on the basis of religion and sexual orientation. Under the settlement’s terms, the law school’s dean and Student Bar Association have agreed to a list of viewpoint-neutral criteria for deciding whether student groups are eligible for the association’s financial support, and, for example, shall not consider whether a group holds unpopular views or faces student opposition. Even if the association denies funds to the campus’s Christian Legal Society chapter, the dean will recognize it as an independent student organization and give it access to campus facilities.

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