Lawsuit that tried to block federal funding to religious colleges tossed by judge

A group of 40 LGBT+ individuals who filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Education Department challenging an exemption that provides religious higher learning institutions federal funding was tossed by an Oregon judge, according to Just The News

The outlet noted specifically that the group challenged “A Title IX exemption that allows religious colleges to receive federal funding even if they do not adhere to the civil rights law’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination by holding traditional religious beliefs on sexuality and gender.”

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken tossed the lawsuit last week.

The lawsuit was brought initially by The Religious Exemption Accountability Project.

The decision

Judge Aiken described why she believed the lawsuit wouldn’t hold up in her court.

In her decision, she wrote that “the religious exemption does not aim at the suppression of speech,” adding that it is “substantially related to the government’s objective of accommodating religious exercise.”

The judge noted that the advocacy group “failed to demonstrate” a number of things in the lawsuit.

NBC News noted:

The plaintiffs alleged that, by design, the exemptions permit religiously affiliated institutions to discriminate against students on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Students respond

The LGBT students in the advocacy group that filed the lawsuit responded to the judge’s decision last week, and to say they were unhappy is an understatement.

“It’s frustrating that the Court has enough sense to know we’ve been hurt and impacted but still won’t do anything to prevent this discrimination from continuing to happen,” said Rachel Held, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The advocacy group is reportedly considering an appeal, though no further details were available as to when that might happen or where.

In contrast, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative legal advocacy group that defended the religious colleges in the case, celebrated the judge’s ruling.

“The court correctly concluded that Title IX’s religious liberty exemption doesn’t violate any of the plaintiffs’ claimed rights,” said ADF attorney David Cortman.