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U.S. court ruling upholds federal funding for religious colleges with traditional values

The plaintiffs, a group of LGBT+ former and current college students, are considering an appeal.

Published: January 15, 2023 7:42am

Updated: January 15, 2023 4:28pm

A federal judge in Oregon dismissed a lawsuit from a group of 40 LGBT+ individuals against the U.S. Education Department challenging 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.

Oregon-based U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken wrote Thursday that "the religious exemption does not aim at the suppression of speech" and it is "substantially related to the government's objective of accommodating religious exercise."

The plaintiffs, current and former LGBT+ students who said they faced discrimination at religious colleges, "have submitted no allegations of discriminatory motivation on the part of those enacting the religious exemption," the judge wrote. 

According to the judge, the group "failed to demonstrate" numerous things, such as a way their complaints could be set right, that Congress had any discriminatory motivations when enacting the exemption or that their due process rights were violated. 

"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," Rachel Held, one of the student plaintiffs, said, Reuters reported

The plaintiffs are considering an appeal.

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