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MO college asks court to immediately halt Biden order that opens dorms, showers to opposite sex

ADF attorneys available to media following hearing Wednesday

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT: Available to media following hearing in The School of the Ozarks d/b/a College of the Ozarks v. Biden

WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 3:30 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 19

WHERE: Hearing is taking place via video teleconference before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri; to schedule an interview, contact ADF Director of Media Relations Elizabeth Ray at (202) 440-3767

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing College of the Ozarks will be available for media interviews Wednesday following a hearing in federal district court in a lawsuit the school filed against the Biden administration.

The lawsuit challenges a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening their dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex. The directive accomplishes this by requiring entities covered by the Fair Housing Act to not “discriminate” based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The hearing concerns the college’s request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction order that would halt enforcement of the HUD directive while the lawsuit moves forward.

“The government can’t force schools to open girls’ dorm rooms to males or vice-versa,” said ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake. “President Biden is punishing religious schools, organizations, and churches simply because of their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Religious schools like the College of the Ozarks are free to follow the religious tradition they represent. That’s why we are asking the court to halt enforcement of this unconstitutional directive while our lawsuit proceeds.”

The administration’s rule change forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening up female dorms to biological males and male dorms to biological females, or face fines of up to six figures, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. HUD’s reinterpretation of “sex” in the Fair Housing Act comes in light of President Biden’s executive order titled, “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” signed in January 2021.

The lawsuit opposes the HUD directive and the executive order requiring it. The order, issued to all federal agencies, requires them to modify their policies on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The lawsuit explains that the HUD directive contradicts the historical judicial interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, which confirms that “sex” means biological sex. The suit also argues that the directive exceeds the administration’s authority and violates the constitutionally protected freedom of College of the Ozarks and similar religious institutions to operate consistently with their religious beliefs.

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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