In a 2 to 1 ruling, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has told the US Military that they cannot threaten colleges and universities with the freezing or witholding of funds if that educational institution denies US Military access to it’s campus for recruiting.

Many prominent schools have restricted on campus recruiting because of the military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly. The federal law, known as the Solomon Amendment, the judges rule, infringes on the free speech rights of schools.Military Loses Gay Ban Threats
by The Associated Press

Posted: November 29,2004 8:11 pm ET

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) A federal appeals court Monday barred the Defense Department from withholding funds from colleges and universities that deny access to military recruiters.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a federal law known as the Solomon Amendment infringes on the free speech rights of schools that have restricted on-campus recruiting because of the military’s ban on gays and lesbians.

Ruling in a lawsuit brought by students and professors at New Jersey law schools, the three-judge panel said that by threatening to withdraw federal funds from schools, the government is compelling them to take part in speech they do not agree with.

“The Solomon Amendment requires law schools to express a message that is incompatible with their educational objectives, and no compelling governmental interest has been shown to deny this freedom,” the court wrote.

The panel overturned a decision by a lower court judge.

Similar lawsuits have been filed around the country, but Monday’s ruling represented the first time a court blocked the government from enforcing the law.

©Associated Press 2004

By walterh

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