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Christian College Files Suit Challenging Biden Administration on Gender Identity

College of the Ozarks has filed suit in federal court challenging the Biden Administration’s change to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) directive that redefines “sex” when requiring that entities covered by the Fair Housing Act not discriminate based on gender identity.

The Missouri college said in the suit that application of the executive order forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening dorms to all genders or face fines of up to six figures, plus punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

The order states: “All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” citing the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. 

The School of the Ozarks, Inc. d/b/a College of the Ozarks v. Biden, filed April 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division, says the modified HUD directive contradicts the historical judicial interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, which has affirmed that “sex” means biological sex. The suit also argues the directive exceeds the administration’s authority and violates the college’s constitutionally protected freedom to operate within their religious beliefs.

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative Christian firm that advocates for religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family, will represent the college in the case.

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“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,” said ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake.  “Government overreach by the Biden administration continues to victimize women, girls, and people of faith by gutting their legal protections, and it must be stopped.”

College of the Ozarks holds to the Christian belief that biological sex is not changeable, and its dormitory policies prohibit male students from living in female residence halls, and vice versa.

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college in Point Lookout, Missouri.

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Anne Stych

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