Federal Judge Rejects Restraining Order On HUD Rule Requiring College Boys And Girls To Share Bathrooms, Showers

A shocking development

Federal court judge Roseann Ketchmark of the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri rejected the motion filed on behalf of the College of the Ozarks seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the new regulation barring schools from having separate bathrooms and showers for male and female students.

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Both sides shared their arguments in the two-hour hearing and the judge said she was denying the motion. According to her, it was “nonjusticiable.”

Did Ketchmark refer to the TRO motion or to the school’s suit? The judge will soon issue a written order and wasn’t available for comments.

The school argues that the new regulation “interferes with the college’s speech, burdening the exercise of its moral and religious principles, and intruding upon its students’ privacy. Without emergency relief, the college must eliminate its current housing policies, cease talking to students about its policies, and stop planning for fall semester housing, all in violation of its longstanding religious beliefs, or else suffer massive fines and investigatory burdens by continuing to provide housing based on biological sex. The college thus asks this Court to enjoin the directive in order to maintain the legal status quo while this suit proceeds.”

Former President Barack Obama appointed Ketchmark to the federal bench in 2014. The Republican-led Senate confirmed her in September 2015.

“While we’re disappointed by the court’s ruling yesterday, we are confident that the College of the Ozarks will obtain the relief that it seeks as this case moves forward,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake told The Epoch Times on May 20.

ADF represents the school in the litigation. It’s an Arizona-based public-interest law firm with the main focus on religious liberty litigation.

The law firm has 12 Supreme Court victories since 2001. They won the landmark Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. According to this case, individuals can’t be required to provide a service or message that conflicts with their religious views.

“The federal government is seeking to force private religious colleges to open females’ single-sex dorm rooms and communal showers to biological males if the male identifies as female,” Blake said.

“The Constitution guarantees that religious schools, like College of the Ozarks, are free to follow the religious tradition that inspires everything that they do. But this new policy that redefines sex in federal law, a policy pushed forward by President Biden, forces the College of the Ozarks to open its dormitories to members of the opposite sex.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued the regulation prompting the litigation. This happened right after Joe Biden signed an executive order on the very first day of his presidency. The executive order directs all federal agencies to reinterpret Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to go on and reinterpret Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in light of the 2020 decision by the Supreme Court following Boston v. Clayton County.

The court decision held that prohibitions on sex-related discrimination have to include the person’s gender identity and sexual orientation. Related to Biden’s executive order, HUD officials released a Feb. 11 directive that bars “any recipient of federal funds for any purpose from segregating bathrooms, showers, and other living quarters on the basis of gender.”

College of the Ozarks, a Point Lookout, Missouri, private Christian college established in 1906, says that the result is that the institution will have to violate its long-held religious beliefs and practices by opening living spaces at the campus to male and female students. This includes dormitory bathrooms and showers.

The school challenges Biden’s executive order and the HUD directive in the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri’s Southern Division.

“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 told reporters during a digital news conference on May 19. “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.”

College of the Ozarks doesn’t charge any tuition and provides students with jobs on campus and offers other financial assistance that helps them to work while studying.

The curriculum is actually “designed to develop citizens of Christ-like character, who are well-educated, hard-working, and patriotic,” as noted in the suit. The college hosts about 1,200 male and female students split in nine dormitories on the campus.

There’s also a K–12 grade school and it allows the school to offer a comprehensive K-to-college experience, providing “the advantages of a Christian education for youth of both sexes, especially for those found worthy, but who are without sufficient means to procure such training,” according to the charter.

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Source: The Epoch Times


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