Department of Justice previously said it could defend the exemptions
A federal district judge in Oregon said on October 8 that Alliance Defending Freedom and three Christian universities can intervene to defend a lawsuit that seeks to end religious exemptions under Title IX, which protects equal access to education for men and women.
The Department of Justice had previously argued in June that it could defend the Title IX religious exemptions, a decision that drew criticism from the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, the LGBT legal group behind the lawsuit.
Judge Ann Aiken said in her decision that Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary represented by conservative legal nonprofit ADF and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, represented by law firm Schaerr-Jaffe, could intervene in the case.
The universities want to protect their ability to keep separate dorms and locker rooms and other single-sex policies.
President Joe Biden’s DOJ is currently in a legal battle with the College of the Ozarks over its single-sex dorm room policy.
The decision to allow the universities to intervene is important because it protects the religious freedom rights of the colleges, ADF said.
“Among other things, Title IX allows students to use federal financial aid at private religious schools that operate according to their beliefs,” the legal group said in a news release.
Senior Counsel David Cortman said:
This lawsuit wants the federal government to tell Christian schools, ‘To continue accepting low- to middle-income students who require financial aid, you have to violate your core beliefs.’ Because that’s neither reasonable nor constitutional, we are pleased that these schools will have the opportunity to defend their freedoms in this case.
No court should grant a radical request to rewrite federal law and strong-arm religious colleges by stripping their students of much-needed financial aid.
The court is expected next week to consider a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought from the Religious Accountability Exemption Project.
Editor’s note: The article has been updated to clarify the legal representatives of the intervening parties.