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Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education

Description:  A lawsuit filed by a recently formed LGBT activist group on behalf of some current and former students intends to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to Christian beliefs on sexuality.


U.S. Department of Education building, Washington, D.C.
Friday, Oct 8, 2021

EUGENE, Ore. – A federal district court issued an order Friday that allows three Christian post-secondary schools to intervene against a lawsuit that seeks to strip all students at private religious colleges of federal financial aid unless their schools renounce core religious beliefs. The suit, filed by a recently formed LGBT activist group on behalf of some current and former students, intends to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to Christian beliefs on gender or sexual morality.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the three schools—Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary—asked the court to allow them to defend the relevant provisions of Title IX, the federal law under attack. Among other things, Title IX allows students to use federal financial aid at private religious schools that operate according to their beliefs.

“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,” said ADF Vice President of U.S. Litigation and Senior Counsel David Cortman. “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 lawsuit, Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education, asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to dismantle the long-established protections in Title IX preventing discrimination against religious schools in the disbursement of financial aid, yet no schools that would be affected by such a radical change were named in the case, so they were therefore unable to defend their rights until now. The Biden administration, which was named in the lawsuit, has already announced that Title IX should be reinterpreted in a way that would undermine religious freedom.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT David Cortman

David A. Cortman serves as senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom. Cortman heads all direct litigation efforts to protect religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and marriage and the family. He has successfully litigated over 200 cases at every level, including recent victories at the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeal. A member of the bar in Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and the District of Columbia, he is also admitted to practice in over two dozen federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Cortman obtained his J.D. magna cum laude from Regent University School of Law.