Gay Student Services v. Texas A&M University

737 F.2d 1317 (1984)

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Gay Student Services v. Texas A&M University

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
737 F.2d 1317 (1984)

Facts

In 1976 a group of students at Texas A&M University (Texas A&M) (defendants) formed a group, Gay Student Services (GSS), with the aim of providing services and information to gay students. GSS sought official recognition from Texas A&M as a student organization. Texas A&M initially denied GSS’s application on two grounds: (1) GSS would promote and incite homosexual activity, which was illegal in Texas; and (2) the university was responsible for providing information and services to students, so GSS’s activities would conflict with the university’s mission. GSS filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that the denial of its application constituted a violation of its First Amendment right to freedom of speech. At trial, Texas A&M did not present any evidence bearing on the issue of whether GSS was a social organization. Nevertheless, the district court ruled in favor of Texas A&M on the basis of several findings of fact, including that GSS was a social or fraternal group, and as such, its exclusion was consistent with Texas A&M’s policy against recognizing such organizations. The district court did not address Texas A&M’s asserted justifications for denying GSS recognition on the basis of its viewpoints regarding homosexuality. GSS appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

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