The College of the Ozarks has now essentially been ordered to house biological males with females, after the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear the college’s lawsuit against the Biden administration.
The private religious college near Branson had sued to block a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rule that bars housing discrimination against those who identify as the opposite gender.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the college, warned earlier this year that the rule will force the college “to open its dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex or face fines of up to six figures, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.”
A judge in the U.S. District Court for Western Missouri ruled against the college two years ago, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled the college lacked the standing to sue.
The college, however, sounded a defiant note after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday not to take the case.
It sounds as if the college won’t abide by the Biden administration’s mandate.
ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake issued this statement to The Heartlander:
“The U.S. Supreme Court left this issue unresolved. The Biden admin must be held accountable, and Alliance Defending Freedom will continue to confront government overreach. College of the Ozarks brought this challenge for one reason: The Biden administration was attempting to force them to open their dormitories to members of the opposite sex. Though the high court chose not to review this case, we are hopeful it will soon take up related cases – both challenges to the broad overreach of the Biden administration and the government’s repeated attempts to remove from law any real distinctions between males and females.
“It is wrong to force schools to open girls’ dorms, bedrooms, and shared showers to males, and ADF will do everything in its power to ensure that religious colleges remain free to protect the young women who attend their institutions. No matter what happens next: College of the Ozarks will continue to follow its beliefs.”
In a post earlier this year, ADF noted that 19 states, “multiple Christian colleges and numerous advocacy groups” had joined it in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.
“College of the Ozarks should be free to follow the religious tradition on which it was founded and young women should not be forced to share private spaces with men,” the post quoted ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch. “The government can’t strip a faith-based institution of its constitutionally protected freedoms because it disagrees with its views about marriage and sexuality.”
The HUD directive followed an executive order from President Biden requiring all federal agencies to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their definitions of sex discrimination.
The College of the Ozarks’ lawsuit, ADF’s March 31 post says, maintained that the HUD directive “contradicts the clear wording, meaning, and historical interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, which confirms that ‘sex’ means biological sex.”
The legal brief in the case, joined in by the other states and entities, argued that “this case involves an expansion of federal power and the federal government’s outright failure to address, let alone balance, anti-discrimination policy and interests with religious beliefs.”