An LGBT Group is reported to be on the move to remove the government-mandated "religious exemption" from Title IX for Christian schools.
On Tuesday, Christian Headlines said that a 33-member coalition of LGBT students who call themselves the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) and composed of current and former students from Christian and religious schools filed on Monday a federal lawsuit that asks the declaration of "religious exemptions" as unconstitutional.
The said lawsuit is projected to dramatically change how 200 faith-based U.S. schools would be operating when approved.
The Christian Headlines explained that Christian colleges and universities "often prohibit LGBTQ content in student handbooks, based on scriptural teaching" and this is one of the things the lawsuit is eyeing to change in U.S. schools, which claims that over 100,000 LGBT students are attending.
The lawsuit is asking the federal government to declare as unconstitutional the Title IX religious exemption and to "enforce the protections of Title IX at all taxpayer-funded educational institutions, including at those institutions that discriminate and cause harm on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs."
"Religious exemptions to civil rights statutes come at a price. The price is paid by the young and vulnerable who find themselves at the mercy of religiously affiliated, taxpayer-funded social service and educational institutions that often turn them away or force them into the closet. REAP's lawsuit asserts the constitutional and basic human rights of LGBTQ+ students, seeking to end the sexual, physical and psychological abuses perpetrated under the religious exemption to Title IX at thousands of federally-funded schools, colleges and universities across America," REAP said in their website.
The said website includes photos of the 33 plaintiffs though it does not indicate if they actually represent the LGBTQ+ students from the religious schools and seminaries indicated they come from, which is from across the United States.
Specifically, the schools the plaintiffs come from are: Union University, Brigham Young University, George Fox University, Dordt University, Cedarville University, La Sierra University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Grace University, Westmont College, Bob Jones University, Eastern University, Clarks Summit University, York College, Baylor University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, Colorado Christian College, Indiana Wesleyan University, Liberty University, Moody Bible Institute, Toccoa Falls College, Messiah University, Seattle Pacific University, Oklahoma Baptist University and Oklahoma Christian School, Lipscomb University, and Nyack College.
"The Constitution guarantees equal rights for all Americans, holding space for religious belief and practice, while ensuring that religion does not serve as a government-funded vehicle to harm racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, religious or other minorities. Government action that ignores this central principal, including the religious exemption to Title IX, is unconstitutional and must be remedied immediately," the plaintiffs stated in the website.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that the United States Department of Education is "duty-bound by Title IX and the U.S. Constitution to protect sexual and gender minority students at taxpayer-funded colleges and universities, including private and religious educational institutions that receive federal funding." It asks the federal court to "ensure that all federally-funded educational institutions respect the sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression of their students".
The Christian Headlines cited an interview of the U.S. Department of Education with The Washington Post that said that President Joe Biden's Administration actually considers as valid the said religious exemptions for religious organizations' controlled educational institutions despite being reported to claim that sexual orientation and gender identity apply to Title IX.