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Lawsuit seeking to force Christian universities to conform to LGBT-sanctioned ideology thrown out by federal judge

  An LGBT advocacy group sued the U.S. Education Department in hopes of forcing various Christian schools to systematically adhere to the ev...

 An LGBT advocacy group sued the U.S. Education Department in hopes of forcing various Christian schools to systematically adhere to the ever-changing and frequently incoherent precepts sanctioned by gay- and transsexual-rights activists.

To achieve this end, they reportedly sought to bar students from using tuition grants, student loans, and other federal financial assistance at colleges and universities that work in accordance with religious beliefs on sexuality.

They failed.

Clinton-nominated Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court of the District of Oregon ruled on January 12 in favor of Christian colleges and against the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit

The Religious Exemption Accountability Project, an LGBT activist group, sued the Education Department in March 2021 on behalf of a gang of 33 current and past students at federally funded colleges.

The lawsuit's alleged aim was to "put an end to the U.S. Department of Education's complicity in the abuses and unsafe conditions thousands of LGBTQ+ students endure at hundreds of taxpayer-funded, religious colleges and universities."

According to the suit, the plaintiffs sought "safety and justice for themselves and for the countless sexual and gender minority students whose oppression, fueled by government funding, and unrestrained by government intervention, persists with injurious consequences to mind, body and soul." 

The College Fix indicated that the kind of "oppression" that these activists sought to combat would include religious schools' prohibitions on students being in gay relationships as well as policies preventing men who masquerade as females from entering women's locker rooms.

According to the Washington Post, the suit further alleged that the religious exemption conferred to the schools, allowing them "to have discriminatory policies," is unconstitutional because they receive government funding.

Title IX applies to all schools that receive federal funding.

Title IX says, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

There is, however, a religious exemption under Title IX stating that "an educational institution which is controlled by a religious organization" can uphold its values, even if regarded as discriminatory, so long as they are "consistent with the religious tenets of such organization."

The suit referenced 25 schools across the country.

Bob Jones University president Steve Pettit suggested that, if successful, the suit would foist a "single government-sanctioned ideology" on religious schools across the country.

The decision

Reason reported that Aiken more or less recognized that the government "has no constitutional obligation to prohibit sex discrimination (or race discrimination, religious discrimination[,] political discrimination, or what have you) by private institutions, even ones that get government funds."

Aiken wrote, "Plaintiffs have submitted no allegations of discriminatory motivation on the part of those enacting the religious exemption. To the contrary, Plaintiffs argue that when Congress enacted Title IX, protections for—or discrimination against sexual and gender minorities—were 'of no concern.'"

The judge also noted that "the Supreme Court has stated that 'a law is not unconstitutional simply because it allows churches to advance religion, which is their very purpose.'"

Aiken added, "Plaintiffs also fail to allege facts to demonstrate that it is Defendants—the government actor— that has burdened Plaintiffs religious beliefs."

The judge elsewhere made mincemeat of the activists' allegations, suggesting they are "difficult to string together."

While the Clinton-nominated judge suggested that "the relief requested will result in the Plaintiffs receiving the dignity and equal treatment they seek," she ultimately decided to dismiss the case and deny the motion for preliminary injunction.

At rainbow's end

Activists were enraged by the result — that Christian universities can continue to affirm their values rather than the designs of LGBT social engineers.

Plaintiff Elizabeth Hunter said, "The government's choice to ignore both the injustice done to me, and the injustice weaponized against hundreds of LGBTQ+ students is deeply disappointing. We deserve better, our country deserves better, and history deserves better. The silence and erasure of LGBTQ+ students should not be a precedent."

Plaintiff Lucas Wilson, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary, said he was "enraged," claiming the "court's decision that there is no legal remedy for the harm done to us LGBTQ+ students makes the government complicit in both allowing and perpetuating homophobia and transphobia."

Wilson, a foreign national, added, "Very simply, the court could and should have decided to protect queer students; these taxpayer-funded religious schools ought not be privileged over LGBTQ+ students' safety and vitality."

While LGBT activists are riven over the court's decision, others are touting Aiken's ruling as a victory for freedom in America.

David Cortman, vice president of U.S. litigation for Alliance Defending Freedom, said, "A federal district court today rightly rejected an unfounded assault on the religious freedom of faith-based educational institutions. Title IX, which applies to schools receiving federal financial assistance, explicitly protects the freedom of religious schools to live out their deeply and sincerely held convictions."

"A group of activists asked the court to strip that protection away from schools that educate the next generation and advance the common good. The court correctly concluded that Title IX’s religious liberty exemption doesn’t violate any of the plaintiffs’ claimed rights," added Cortman.

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