The United States Department of Justice was reported to have sided with Christian schools over a lawsuit filed by an LGBTQ+ group on religious exemption.
According to Christian Headlines, President Joe Biden's Department of Justice has decided last Tuesday that the exemption provided in Title IX for Christian schools and universities is constitutional as against the claims of the LGBTQ+ group Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP).
The Hill, on the other hand, said that the Department of Justice announced that it can "vigorously" defend exemptions to anti-discrimination laws for LGBT such as the one filed against the religious schools by REAP last March.
"The Federal Defendants' ultimate objective is to defend the statutory exemption and its current application by ED, which is the objective sought by the Proposed Intervenors here," the United States District Court for Oregon's Eugene Division said in the filing.
The defendants to the case is the Department of Education who was sued by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project for the religious exemption given to Christian schools as provided by Title IX. The group alleges that the exemption discriminates against the LGBTQ+ since Title IX allows religious schools protection from discrimination on sex in their education programs.
Currently, LGBTQ content is prohibited in student handbooks in the said Christian schools since it is against scriptural teaching. The plaintiffs said this "cause harm" to the 100,000 LGBTQ+ students enrolled in schools across the United States.
The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), who got involved with the case last month since they could not trust the Biden Administration to defend them, welcomed the court's decision through a statement released on Wednesday by its president, Shirley Hoogstra. Another reason CCCU got involved was due to most of their members being named in the lawsuit by the plaintiffs.
"We welcome the Biden administration's commitment to the Title IX religious exemption, but we do believe that the Christian colleges and universities whose rights are at stake should have a representative at the table, and in the courtroom, for these important conversations," Hoogstra told The Hill in an interview.
The Corban University, William Jessup University and Phoenix Seminary intervened in the case through Alliance Defending Freedom last April as defendants in the lawsuit. But the Oregon court denied their motion to intervene in last Tuesday's filing.
The Hill said the DOJ opposed the move of the intervenors with the reasoning that it will "uphold the Religious Exemption as it is currently applied" being the one in charge to uphold federal law.
"The Proposed Intervenors have failed to show how their interests diverge from the Federal Defendants' interests or how the Federal Defendants and their counsel, the United States Department of Justice, which is responsible for defending federal statutes in court, would inadequately defend the religious exemption," the Oregon court said.
"For these reasons, the Proposed Intervenors have failed to show why they should be permitted to intervene and their Motions to Intervene should be denied," it concluded.