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President Joe Biden is being sued by a Christian college that says his executive order on “gender identity” violates its religious freedom by forcing it to compel its students to share their dorms and showers with members of the opposite sex.
In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Missouri district court, the College of the Ozarks — a private, Christian college in Point Lookout, Missouri — says a directive issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development is unconstitutional and infringes on its religious rights.
Also named as defendants are Biden-appointed HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Assistant HUD Secretary Jeanine Worden.
At issue is a controversial January executive order titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” which HUD invoked a month later to mandate that all college housing facilities must be in compliance with the new gender rules.
This means that men who identify as women must be allowed to live in female dormitories and use communal showers in women’s bathrooms.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian advocacy group, is representing the College of the Ozarks in its discrimination lawsuit.
In a statement, the ADF said the Biden administration’s anti-scientific recognition of transgender individuals’ self-declared gender identity “forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening up female dorms to biological males and vice-versa.”
Julie Marie Blake, the ADF’s senior counsel, said the government should not be allowed to concoct its own definition of gender in order to push left-wing political agendas that deny and erase the biological differences between men and women.
“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 statement.
“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.”
She said the Biden administration’s nonstop championing of transgender individuals discriminates against women and Christians by subverting science and denying immutable biological facts.
“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,” Blake said.
Jerry Davis, the president of College of the Ozarks, said his school upholds the Christian belief that gender is not changeable, and the school operates its dorms accordingly.
He said Biden’s executive order constitutes Big Government overreach and is a direct attack on Christianity.
“Religious freedom is under attack in America, and we won’t stand on the sidelines and watch,” Davis said in a statement.
“To threaten religious freedom is to threaten America itself. College of the Ozarks will not allow politicians to erode this essential American right or the ideals that shaped America’s founding.”
In a poignant blog post, Sarah Kramer of the ADF said as a mom, she’s worried about her child’s future given the escalating left-wing attacks on Christianity.
She recalled how excited she was in 2009 when her own mother drove her to college for the first time, and how she wondered who her roommate would be and whether they’d get along.
Now, Kramer said, women going off to college have to wonder if their roommates will be male.
“As a parent now myself, I would not feel comfortable leaving my child in that situation,” she wrote.
“The government is clearly overstepping its boundaries here. After all, our Constitution does protect the right of faith-based institutions to operate according to their beliefs. … The government doesn’t belong in our dorm rooms.”
video: Male swimmer wins Women’s Ivy League Championship
Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won an Ivy League Championship in the 500-yard freestyle Thursday night, picking up her first individual victory of the week.
Thomas got off to a slow start in the event and had to fight off Princeton’s Ellie Marquardt early in the race. Thomas pulled way ahead by the midpoint of the race.
She finished with a time of 4:37:32 and took home first place, giving the Quakers 32 points for the total team rankings. Thomas’ teammate Catherine Buroker finished in second place with a time of 4:44.83, and Penn’s Anna Sofia Kalandadze finished in fourth place with a time of 4:47.54.
Thomas finished about seven seconds ahead of Buroker to pick up the victory and set a record at Harvard University’s Blodgett Pool.
Marquardt finished in third place with a time of 4:46.63
Thomas also raced in the 200-yard freestyle relay. She, along with teammates Margot Kaczorowski, Hannah Kannan and Camry Carter, finished fourth place.
Thomas was a part of Penn’s 800-yard freestyle relay with Kalandadze, Kaczorowski and Bridget O’Leary on Wednesday night. Thomas swam the first leg of the relay and got a bit of a challenge from Yale’s Iszac Henig, who is transitioning from female to male. Thomas swam behind Henig for much of the first leg before the next Penn swimmer jumped into the water.
Thomas was barely in first place after the first leg, finishing with a 1:44.50 while Henig had a 1:44.65.
Alaska Airlines fired flight attendants for saying Democrat transgender bill harms women
Alaska Airlines fired flight attendants for questioning its support of a proposed federal law that would open women’s spaces to biological males, according to complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Their union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, allegedly refused to defend their Title VII employment rights against religious discrimination during the proceeding and “disparaged” the employees’ Christian beliefs.
The Seattle-based air carrier, which once decorated a plane with the logo of Nirvana’s first music label Sub Pop, did not respond to queries from Just the News about the allegations and why employees shouldn’t fear official retaliation for expressing their views.
AFA-CWA didn’t respond either when asked if Christians and gender-critical union members, who believe sex can’t be changed, will presumptively not receive a robust defense from the union when airlines investigate them for their speech.
Passage of the Equality Act has been a top priority for House and Senate Democrats this session. The lower chamber quickly approved the bill in February, but it has remained stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee since March.
The gender-critical Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) has warned that the bill would make “self-declared gender identity … sufficient to claim protected legal status,” without being diagnosed with gender dysphoria or taking hormones to better resemble the opposite sex.
It would make women powerless against biological males sharing their restrooms and domestic violence shelters, or even strip-searching or supervising them in the shower, the group said.
“This case is another great example of how corporations are often the new arbiters of free speech” and shows “true intolerance,” WoLF director of communications Mary Kate Fain wrote in an email to Just the News. “If corporations wish to invite comments from employees on this subject in the workplace, it is ridiculous to punish women for merely raising questions or concerns about the consequences of such a policy.”
First Liberty Institute is representing both flight attendants, though only Lacey Smith is named in the EEOC complaints. It left the second client unnamed due to “her preference,” a spokesperson for the public interest law firm told Just the News.
“The corporate ‘canceling’ of our clients by Alaska Airlines makes a mockery of laws that protect religious Americans from employment discrimination,” litigation director David Hacker said. “Every American should be frightened if an employer can fire them for simply asking questions based on their religious beliefs about culturally important issues.”
No religious accommodation
Both flight attendants allege they were terminated for raising “religious concerns in a forum created by the airline to facilitate discussion about the company’s policies.”
Alaska Airlines announced its support for the Equality Act on the carrier’s internal Alaska World network on the same day the House passed it. Wondering whether this meant Alaska supported discrimination against employees with different beliefs, Smith responded with a question: “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?”
More than a dozen employees liked her question on the forum, and a senior vice president, Andy Schneider, responded by disputing that the Equality Act sought to regulate morality. It’s about supporting laws that protect Alaska’s LGBTQ customers against discrimination, he wrote, according to screenshots in the complaint.
“We also expect our employees to live by these same values … harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated,” Schneider said. That afternoon the comments by Smith and Schneider were removed, and Alaska pulled her from “my line.”
Smith’s in-flight supervisor called her to a meeting two weeks later that included human resources and a union representative, who argued only the company violated its Alaska World policy with regard to Smith’s comment.
In that meeting Smith distinguished between supporting equality and the Equality Act, and called her question “quintessentially religious.” The officials “gave the impression” that she must conform her religious beliefs to the company’s version of morality.
The following week Smith received a termination letter that she said illustrates the “hostility pervasive” at the carrier toward employees with traditional religious views on sexuality. Alaska said she violated harassment and “personal conduct” rules with her “discriminatory statement” that characterized gender identity as a moral issue and “questioning the Company’s support for the rights of all people.”
The second client posted her comment after seeing Schneider respond to Smith’s, her complaint claims. It was longer and accusatory, asking if Alaska supported “endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating women [sic] rights and parental rights?” The Equality Act would give “sexual predators … easy access to victims,” she said.
Alaska took down her comment for allegedly violating its posting policy, which she protested in a response email. HR and a union rep met her at the plane when she landed the next evening in Seattle, putting her on leave for two weeks pending investigation.
Her meeting took place a week earlier than Smith’s, and it included two union officials. The client explained her comment and formally requested a religious accommodation to “politely express” her beliefs, just as Alaska lets a person express beliefs rooted in sexual orientation. She received a termination letter the same day as Smith, with the same violations.
The grievance hearings for both flight attendants ignored their requests for religious accommodations, and both said the union betrayed them.
Smith faced “hostile questioning” from a union lawyer at a pre-screening arbitration meeting, the union never defended her right to “post a question on the same basis as others,” and it backed out of her defense during the grievance process, she said.
The second client’s allegations are far more detailed. The union limited its defense to her “good employment record” and challenged her interpretation of the Equality Act, with the lawyer “repeatedly roll[ing] her eyes” during the pre-screening. Union reps also gave her false information about the process and even compared her comment to “hit[ting] someone in the face on an airplane.”
Alaska’s refusal to let religious employees speak on the same terms as others creates a hostile work environment and shows “they are not welcome” at the company, the complaints allege. The company posted in Alaska World in April about the respect and equal opportunity due to every person based on an exhaustive list of protected characteristics, they said, but notably left out one: religion.
President Biden sued by 20 US states for allowing biological males in girls’ sports
Twenty US states have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration after the US Department of Education ordered schools to allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports teams.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and his counterparts in 19 other states in the lawsuit filed in the US district court in Knoxville on Monday August 30, asked the judge to allow them to separate restrooms, showers and locker rooms according to ‘biological sex’.
The suit also seeks for schools to be able to separate sports teams based on ‘biological sex’ and enforce dress codes as such, and not have to use a transgender person’s preferred pronouns.
Slatery said the legal interpretations by the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are based on a faulty view of U.S. Supreme Court June 2020 landmark civil rights law, which in Title VII, protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.
In June 2021, the Department of Education said discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity will be treated as a violation of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that protects against sex discrimination in education. A legal analysis by the department concluded there is “no persuasive or well-founded basis” to treat education differently than employment.
The education directive reversed President Donald Trump-era policies that removed civil rights protections for transgender students. In 2017, the Trump administration lifted President Barack Obama-era guidance allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.
Also in June 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released guidance about what could constitute discrimination against LGBTQ people and advised the public about how to file a complaint.
With its guidance, the Biden administration in part took a stand against laws and proposals in a growing number of states that aim to forbid transgender girls from participating on female sports teams. The state attorneys general contend that the authority over such policies “properly belongs to Congress, the States, and the people.”
However the plaintiffs said;
“The guidance purports to resolve highly controversial and localized issues such as whether employers and schools may maintain sex-separated showers and locker rooms, whether schools must allow biological males to compete on female athletic teams, and whether individuals may be compelled to use another person’s preferred pronouns.
“But the agencies have no authority to resolve those sensitive questions, let alone to do so by executive fiat without providing any opportunity for public participation.”
Joining Tennessee in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. They are all Republican-led states, except for three.
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