The University of Iowa was ordered to pay almost $2 million in attorneys' fees to the nonprofit legal organization that represented two Christian student groups that sued the public university for violating their religious liberty.
The three-member Iowa State Appeal Board approved writing two checks to The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on Monday, following the groups' victory in federal court after years of litigation, according to The Iowa Gazette.
The Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) sued the university in 2017 after the student club was removed from campus and kept from student activity funding because it required its leadership to affirm a biblical definition of marriage and sexuality.
The university said at the time that it prohibits any discrimination based on sexual orientation and accused the BLinC of violating the school's Human Rights Policy and the Iowa Civil Rights Act when it denied a gay member a leadership role.
After a federal court ruled in BLinC's favor and mandated that the group be reinstated, UI deregistered 38 other student groups, including InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, which went on to sue the school in a 2018 companion lawsuit that alleged religious discrimination.
Of the 500-plus organizations on campus, the list named groups like Cru, Hillel, InterVarsity, Muslim Students Association and Young Life. Becket argued that the list was further proof that the university was singling out religious groups and discriminating against them, especially when the school allows secular groups to restrict leadership or membership based on race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and military service.
A federal appeals court ruled in favor of the student groups in July, judging that the university's behavior was unconstitutional and "targeted religious groups for differential treatment under the human rights policy — while carving out exemptions and ignoring other violative groups with missions they presumably supported."
The University of Iowa did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Fox News' Caleb Parke contributed to this report.