Supreme Court Won't Hear Christian College's Case Against Biden Admin's Trans Policy
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The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of a Christian college in Missouri in a battle over federal transgender policy for dorm rooms and showers.
College of the Ozarks located in Point Lookout had sued the Biden administration over a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). That directive forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening girls' dormitories to males who identify as female. The order also applies to females who identify as males.
The lawsuit opposes the HUD directive and President Biden's executive order titled, "Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation."
A federal court previously ruled against the school. But USA Today reports that ruling was only based on procedural grounds, with the judge saying the college doesn't officially have standing in the case because they haven't been targeted yet for punishment.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian nonprofit advocacy group has been representing the college.
"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 in March of 2023.
"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," Bursch pointed out, noting the other entities who had signed on for the case.
If a college refuses to follow HUD's transgender housing mandate, it could face fines up to six figures.
At the beginning of the case in 2021, college President Jerry C. Davis said, "The Biden Administration's policy forces College of the Ozarks to decide between defending its religious liberty from government overreach or violating our core beliefs. The government's threats include harmful fines that could easily amount to six figures. Fair Housing Act penalties can even land people in jail. College of the Ozarks will not stand on the sidelines while our right to religious freedom is attacked. That is why we filed a lawsuit with Alliance Defending Freedom to protect our female students and the Christian education we provide."
Since the Supreme Court's rejection of this particular case was only based on a procedural issue, it's possible that a similar case could resurface if the federal government does decide to start punishing Christian colleges that don't adopt the transgender policy.
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