A Missouri college is suing the Biden administration for requiring them to allow transgender male and females to be allowed housing in the opposite sex's dorm rooms and shower spaces.
College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) April 15.
The lawsuit challenges the U.S. HUD-issued directive 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," according to the college's website with the lawsuit details. Under this directive, the Fair Housing Act prohibits colleges from "discriminating" against students' sexual orientation or gender identity.
Lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom, who represent the College of the Ozarks, argue this directive forces students and university staff to violate their deep beliefs, or face lofty fines, potentially up to six figures.
The federal district court denied the College's request for an injunction and temporary restraining order. The college sought these orders to gain protection while the court case is pending.
"While we are disappointed in today's ruling, we expect to appeal so that schools are not forced to open women's dorm rooms to males and violate their religious beliefs," said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis in a news release. "For more than 100 years, College of the Ozarks has provided a distinctly Christian education to students with financial need. We will not abandon our mission. The fight to protect our religious freedom has just begun."
The ADF lawyers argue the order "contradicts the historical judicial interpretation" of the Fair Housing Act, which ultimately affirms that sexual orientation and gender identification are not included in the Act. "Sex," as referenced in the Act, refers to biological sex, the lawyers state.
Under the Constitution, religious schools are protected from infringement upon their beliefs; a freedom the College of the Ozarks says is under attack in this lawsuit. The lawsuit argues that the directive and order exceed the authority given to the Biden administration.
The school "has long been guided by a Biblical worldview that all people should be treated with dignity, grace and holy love, whatever their sexual beliefs," the lawsuit states. However, it also "teaches that sex as determined at birth is a person's God-given, objective gender, whether or not it differs from their internal sense of 'gender identity."
Further, ADF Legal believes "young women shouldn't be forced to share private spaces—including showers and dorm rooms—with males."
College of the Ozarks does not charge tuition. Instead, students work on campus while enrolled, and admissions are made under the goal of 90% of students obtaining financial aid. Donations cover the remainder of tuition. This has coined the school as "Hard Work U" by a 1973 Wall Street Journal article.
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