A directive from the Biden Administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening their dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex.
The directive accomplishes this by requiring entities covered by the Fair Housing Act to not “discriminate” based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief on behalf of College of the Ozarks, a religious institution underpressure from the Biden Administration to abandon its deeply-held religious beliefs to comply with the Administration’s radical definition of sex discrimination or face significant penalties.
The Fair Housing Act, which is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), makes it unlawful to discriminate against an individual based on, among other factors, sex.
HUD arbitrarily announced that the sex discrimination provision of the Act now prohibits discrimination based upon “sexual orientation and gender identity” and that it would be investigating any complaints based on this prohibition.
HUD issued the directive without regard for religious freedom and without engaging in the legally required notice and comment process.
Under the new rule, the College will now be required to open its single-sex dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex, or the College could incur expansive legal liability.
The amicus brief notes the significant harm that could come to the College as a result of the directive and the threat that the Biden Administration’s agenda poses to constitutionally protected religious liberty.
The amicus brief states: “[T]he College has adequately alleged that there is a substantial risk of future harm, and therefore it faces a ‘real, immediate, and direct’ negative impact. Specifically, the College wishes to maintain its dorm policies, which are ‘affected with a constitutional interest’ since they are informed by the College’s religious beliefs. . . . Or the College risks abandoning its deeply held beliefs and incurring out-of-pocket costs to adapt housing and other facilities to comply with HUD’s new interpretation of the [Fair Housing Act]. This is certainly a realistic danger to the College.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, representing College of the Ozarks, asked the high court to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit that concluded the Christian college cannot sue the Biden administration for seeking to force the school to violate its religious beliefs.
“College of the Ozarks should be free to follow the religious tradition on which it was founded and young women should not be forced to share private spaces with men. The government can’t strip a faith-based institution of its constitutionally protected freedoms because it disagrees with its views about marriage and sexuality,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch.
“Nineteen states, Christian colleges, and organizations have rallied in support of College of the Ozarks’ ability to bring a legal challenge to protect its freedom to operate its school according to its religious beliefs,” he continued. “We hope the Supreme Court will take this case to allow religious institutions to challenge this inappropriate order so they can respect the privacy, dignity, and safety of their students.”
Another battle to win.
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