College of the Ozarks, a Christian liberal arts college based in Point Lookout, Mo., has filed suit in federal court against the Biden administration because of a Housing and Urban Development directive that says religious institutions must permit students of the opposite sex to occupy the same dorms, dorm rooms, and bathrooms.
“The lawsuit challenges a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening their dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex,” as the school noted in a press release posted on its website. “The directive accomplishes this by requiring entities covered by the Fair Housing Act to not ‘discriminate’ based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The college added, “The administration’s rule change forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening up female dorms to biological males and vice-versa, or face fines of up to six figures, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. The reinterpretation of ‘sex’ in the Fair Housing Act comes in light of President Joe Biden’s executive order titled, ‘Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,’ signed in January 2021.”
Lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom are representing the college in its suit.
Earlier this year, the White House said it would “administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
College of the Ozarks maintains separate dorms for its male and female students.
It “holds to the Christian belief that biological sex is not changeable, and it operates its dorms accordingly,” said Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys in a statement. “The college’s sincerely held religious beliefs influence their policies, including dormitory policies, which prohibit male students from living in female residence halls, and vice versa.”
This coming fall, the school is planning to keep its existing arrangement as is.
“Religious freedom is under attack in America, and we won’t stand on the sidelines and watch,” said College of the Ozarks President Dr. Jerry C. Davis in a statement. “To threaten religious freedom is to threaten America itself. College of the Ozarks will not allow politicians to erode this essential American right or the ideals that shaped America’s founding.”
College of the Ozarks—a private, Christian college—“pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals that are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model,” as the school notes.
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—By CNJ Staff