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College of the Ozarks is suing President Joe Biden over his anti-discrimination executive order that would force the school to abandon its religious principles in favor of left-wing gender politics.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious liberty legal group, filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Missouri on behalf of the College of the Ozarks, claiming that Biden’s anti-discrimination act “requires private religious colleges to place biological males into female dormitories and assign them as females’ roommates.”
The college has assigned dormitories and separated “intimate spaces,” such as showers and bathrooms, based on biological sex and does not wish to alter that practice. College of the Ozarks holds the belief that biological sex is not changeable and operates its dorms accordingly.
Biden’s executive order would ban the college from continuing that practice, according to the lawsuit. The suit claims that the order violates the school’s First Amendment-protected rights to tell students about its religious-informed residence hall policies.
“Occupancy and access in the college’s residence halls are separated by biological sex, not identity, and that residence in student housing depends on compliance with the student code of conduct, including the commitment to avoid all sexual relations outside of a marriage between one man and one woman,” the lawsuit reads.
On his first day in office, Biden signed the “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” order mandating that “all persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” Institutions that violate the order face financial penalties. ADF claims that the financial fees could reach six figures.
The college is seeking temporary relief from the Missouri court, citing its plans for the upcoming fall semester to separate incoming students by their biological sex.
College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian school in Point Lookout, Missouri. The school’s president, Dr. Jerry Davis, said that religious freedom is “under attack” from the Biden administration.
“Religious freedom is under attack in America, and we won’t stand on the sidelines and watch,” Davis said. “To threaten religious freedom is to threaten America itself. College of the Ozarks will not allow politicians to erode the essential American right or the ideals that shaped America’s founding.”
ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake said that it is not the role of the government to compel religious schools to change their views on biological sex and gender identity.
“The government cannot and should not force schools to open girls’ dorms to males based on its politically motivated and inappropriate redefinition of ‘sex,’” Blake said in a press release. “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. 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.”