Agudath Israel Hails Court Ruling on Homosexual Hiring

A decision by a Manhattan State Supreme Court judge declaring that a ruling by Mayor Edward Koch, that agencies doing business with the city must certify they would not ban homosexuals from their city-financed work programs, was beyond the mayor’s jurisdiction was hailed today by Rabbi Moshe Scherer, president of Agudath Israel.

Agudath Israel was one of three religious groups joining in challenging Koch’s Executive Order 50. The other two were the Salvation Army and a number of Catholic charities operated under direction of the New York Archidocese.

Supreme Court Justice Alvin Klein handed down the ruling on the controversial mayoralty order early today.

Scherer said “we think that the judge correctly cut through a number of extraneous social policy arguments advanced in this case and correctly perceived that the case presented only narrow questions of executive authority.”

He said the decision “will enable us to provide quality services in a non-discriminatory manner to thousands of needy New Yorkers who rely on Agudath Israel services. The real winners in this ruling are those needy persons.”

The issue was posed by the three plaintiffs as one of whether the mayor had the authority to issue order 50. The judge ruled he did not.

David Zweibel, Agudath Israel director of government affairs, who represented the agency in the trial, said he had been informed that the city intends to appeal Judge Klein’s decision, adding “we are confident that we and the other plaintiff groups will be upheld in any appeal.”

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