A Missouri Christian college has appealed to the US Supreme Court to halt a federal government directive to schools that would force it to open its gender specific campus dormitories and shared shower spaces to members of the opposite sex.
The College of the Ozarks asked the nation’s highest court to block the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) edict that adds “gender identity” to the definition of “sex” in the Fair Housing Act.
The move came after President Biden issued an executive order in 2021 that bars gender identity discrimination throughout the government.
Two lower courts have already rejected appeals by the college ruling that the directive would not impact its operations.
The college’s mission is to develop citizens of ‘Christ-like character’ who are ‘well-educated, hard-working and patriotic’.
Its lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) contend the HUD directive could force the school to violate Biblical principles and traditional Christian beliefs regarding sex and marriage.
“College of the Ozarks should be free to follow the religious tradition on which it was founded. The government can’t strip a private, faith-based institution of its constitutionally protected freedoms because it disagrees with its views about marriage and sexuality,” said ADF senior counsel John Bursch.
He added that if the lower court rulings stand, the college “could be forced to choose between violating its religious beliefs or risking intrusive federal investigations and significant enforcement penalties.”
That could include six-figure fines, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.