College of the Ozarks in Hollister, Missouri, is suing the Biden administration over an order from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that requires religious institutions to allow students of opposing sex to share bathrooms, dorm rooms, and dormitories.
Back in February, the White House announced that “it will administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
On his first day in office, Biden signed the “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” which states that “all persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Breaching the order would result in “heavy fines, punitive damages, and attorney fees,” according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative nonprofit that is representing the school in federal court in Missouri. ADF claims that the financial fine may reach six figures.
ADF—a religious liberty legal association—has filed a lawsuit on behalf of College of the Ozarks in the Western District of Missouri, alleging that Biden’s anti-discrimination act “requires private religious colleges to place biological males into female dormitories and assign them as females’ roommates.”
The college has allocated dormitories and segregated “intimate spaces,” such as showers and restrooms, based on biological sex, and it has no plans to change that. College of the Ozarks runs its dorms based on the premise that biological sex is unchangeable, reports The Federalist.
“Occupancy and access in the college’s residence halls are separated by biological sex, not identity, and that residence in student housing depends on compliance with the student code of conduct, including the commitment to avoid all sexual relations outside of a marriage between one man and one woman,” the lawsuit reads.
According to the lawsuit, the order infringes on the school’s First Amendment rights to notify students about its religiously informed residence hall policies.
“The government cannot and should not force schools to open girls dorms to males based on its politically motivated and inappropriate redefinition of ‘sex,’” ADF senior counsel Julie Marie Blake said. “Women shouldn’t be forced to share private spaces — including showers and dorm rooms—with males, and religious schools shouldn’t be punished simply because of their beliefs about marriage and biological sex.”
The college asked for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, allowing it to continue operating as usual until the case is resolved.
The Christian liberal arts college has previously faced criticism from the left. College of the Ozarks’ 2017 decision to mandate all freshmen to participate in a “Patriotic Education and Fitness” course to educate them on the military, politics, and flag procedures drew widespread criticism from left-wing outlets. In 2017, the college declared that it would no longer discriminate against athletic teams at other colleges that do not stand for the national anthem.
The motions come when transexual advocates call for increased security and access to facilities that conform to their preferred gender.
The ADF is also involved in lawsuits against transexual athletes, arguing that biological males have an advantage over biological females who have less testosterone and muscle growth.
Advocates for transgender people argue that there is no distinction between birth gender and gender of choice. They claim that a woman who thinks she is a man is a man in any sense of the word.
The Biden administration based its order on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County. This civil rights case gives gay and transgender people employment and workplace discrimination protections.
ADF senior counsel Ryan Bangert argued that the high court’s decision in that case only narrowly applied to workplaces.
“This directive from HUD is a breathtaking example of administrative overreach,” Bangert said.
LGBTQ advocates are suing religious schools in a class-action lawsuit called Hunter v. Department of Education, which aims to remove religious rights from schools. The plaintiffs seek to make it illegal for federal student aid to be used at any school where religious values govern sexual orientation.
Bangert explained that College of the Ozarks does not discriminate in terms of enrollment but that all students must follow a code of conduct while enrolled.