DOJ Defends Current Stance On Religious Exemptions In Lawsuit

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In the filing made on Tuesday, the DOJ argued that its “ultimate objective is to defend the statutory exemption and its current application” by the Department of Education.

In a court filing made earlier this week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said it can defend an exemption for religious schools with regards to anti-LGBTQ+ discriminatory laws. The filing was made in a court case that challenges the use of federal funding for colleges and universities that have discriminatory practices in place. 

Earlier this year, a group of LGBTQ+ students sued the Department of Education (DOE) for allowing federal funds to be distributed to religious schools that have in place policies which discriminate against LGBTQ+ groups and individuals. The exemptions are part of Title IX, implemented back in the 1970s.

In the filing made on Tuesday, the DOJ argued that its “ultimate objective is to defend the statutory exemption and its current application” by the Department of Education, The Hill reports. 

After the Biden administration received backlash from LGBTQ+ groups over the DOJ’s position, the DOJ updated the filing on Wednesday. In the update provided to The Hill, the DOJ stressed that it would defend the current application of the federal law which allows for the exemptions while a review of the federal law is under way. 

“To be sure, the Department of Education is considering a comprehensive review of its regulations,” the filing reads, with the review in regards to a executive order by the Biden administration that calls on government agencies to enforce anti-discriminatory protections for the LGBTQ+. However, until the review is complete, “it would be premature to conclude that the government is an inadequate representative” to defend the current position. 


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