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U.S. Court of Appeals grants request in College of the Ozarks case over gender identity directive

(KY3)
Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 12:02 PM CDT
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POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. (KY3) - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit granted a request Friday to expedite a federal court case through which the College of the Ozarks is challenging the Biden administration.

The College of the Ozarks filed a lawsuit in April over a directive concerning colleges and gender identity. The Court of Appeals approved a request to expedite the case after a lower court’s dismissal.

The lawsuit challenges a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which requires religious schools to open dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex.

Lawyers for College of the Ozarks argue the administration’s rule change forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening up female dorms to biological males and vice-versa, or face fines of up to six figures, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.

“Young women should not be forced to share private spaces—including showers and dorm rooms—with men, and a religious institution should not be forced to betray its religious beliefs,” said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis in a news release Friday. “It’s our college today. Tomorrow, it could be someone else’s college, school, church, or organization. The constitution protects our freedom by separating power and limiting government. When the government overreaches, College of the Ozarks will defend freedom, especially religious freedom.”

The lawsuit argues 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.

A judge previously rejected the college’s motion for an injunction and temporary restraining order.

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